I didn’t realize how much I liked violin music until earlier this week. Literally…three days ago when the vibrant chords of Hallelujah awoke a quiet, slumbering place in my soul.
Fiddle…that’s what I had always called it; and my limited experience with the funny looking instrument had primarily consisted of the roar and excitement associated with group renditions of Rocky Top and the familiar southern twang of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. But I found the gentle, rhythmic chords stroked with precision by the gifted artist, the violinist, to be both inspirational and soothing.
1 Samuel records the story of how young David skillfully played the stringed instrument and describes the soothing effects the music had on King Saul’s troubled mind. Was it merely the skillful plucking and strumming of the strings or was it a deeper work, resonating from the heart of God to the fingers of David to the heart, soul, and ears of Saul?
And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him. 1 Sam 16:23
Refreshed and well. That’s a good description of how I felt as I found more and more hymns played masterfully by various violinists. My son might even report that I danced around the kitchen. Just a little. The formerly deaf place inside hungered for the audible art that fed the precisely shaped hole that the music seemed to fill so completely. I was amazed at the number of hymns I found that were predominantly accompanied by the violin: Amazing Grace, Come Thou Fount, It Is Well With My Soul, Blessed Assurance… All my favorites! All were beautiful. All were soothing. The more I basked in the stringed harmony, the more I realized that the instrumental versions were like a timely gift of medicine for my soul. The violin played center stage and I simply let my spirit voice the words.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Okay, so hymns aren’t scripture, but as the words of the old hymns flowed so freely from my mind and heart, it reminded me of the importance of knowing: Knowing encouraging, soul-edifying words. Knowing the Word. Knowing the Truth. Knowing ways to nourish and uplift your spirit. Knowing how to soothe a troubled mind or weary heart.
God uses scripture, music, people, nature, circumstances, dreams, visions, and countless other ways to get our attention,to speak to us, to encourage us, to transform us, to heal us, and to equip us. This week He used a violin.
I probably won’t be attending the symphony any time soon. My kitchen will be my dance floor, my phone speakers my instrument, my heart my voice. But Hallelujah is still playing in the background, I am a captive audience, and I will choose to hear each beautiful strum as preparation for a deeper work in the deepest places. And I will sing.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:3 NLT