It was against the rules to play the sanctuary piano after hours. Yet I found myself sitting on the stone steps of Philadelphia College of Bible listening to another late night story of Tim’s life. I was Assistant Dean and it was my responsibility to enforce the rules, but this was not the time for that. That evening I chose instead to just listen again to Tim. He was brilliant. Playing without music, the dissonant chords followed impromptu, tortuous tunes that begged for consistent melody.
A younger student came by, passing on the stairs. “Aren’t you going to stop him?” he demanded. “He’s not supposed to be playing that piano.” I invited him instead, “Sit down and listen.” So we sat. And Tim played. Sometimes wildly, as if he were attacking the piano in anger and grief. It went on and on. Then, almost imperceptibly at first, melody began to emerge. First hidden in the dissonant sequences. Then becoming dominant as the confusion of chords gave way to beautifully peaceful tones.
Tim had worked through his faith again. And as he finished, quietly closed the piano and left, I turned to the younger student and asked, “Did you hear it?” He nodded and went on his way to the dorm.
Tim didn’t know we were listening and that I had refused to interrupt his journey.
We are not expected to immediately find the melody, but if we continue playing, the melody has time to emerge, as it did for Tim. We can learn from others’ journeys, and we should listen closely to their struggles and learn how they learned the patience of trust. God keeps His promises. He has promised to see us through our difficult times and help us obtain an eternal perspective, helping us see past the trouble to the enduring heart melody that only God Himself can supply – from His loving heart to ours.