The Soundtrack of Life

I’ve written about this subject before, but I was taken back to the concept recently as I was driving down the road.

You know our favorite movies – maybe The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Gladiator, maybe Inception or Star Wars, maybe Pride & Prejudice. And there are a host of others. One of the special things about these movies are the soundtracks, the music, the songs. Memorable, stirring music that invites us into the story. We are outside the narrative story within a particular movie. However, when particular songs start playing (like when the fellowship first leaves Rivendell), something makes me want to jump through the screen and join Frodo and Samwise.

Books are great. I love them! But movies have their own specialness because of the music. Matter of fact, how many of us have bought a soundtrack to a movie? I have, even if most of the songs don’t have words. I love listening to the soundtrack we have for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I love to observe people. The other night I went out with a friend and just surveyed the crowd eating at the same restaurant as us. And sometimes – if you are listening to music while observing people – it is almost as if they are moving to the beat and tune of a song. That’s kind of what happens in movies, even if they have to put the scene in slow-motion to fit the song. Then you are really drawn in to the scene.

So, I’m thinking what if life had an actual soundtrack to it all the time, would we be able to live better lives? You know, hit a hard, difficult time and all of a sudden the theme of The Lord of the Rings pops on. In that moment, you find yourself invigorated with new possibility in God. “I can make it,” you say to yourself. And a team (a fellowship?) surrounds you as you head out to face life.

Sometimes I have a deeper experience in my devotional time with God because I play music. It has happened before as I’ve decided to play one song over and over. Because of the moving worship song, I broke down weeping 2 or 3 times. That doesn’t usually happen when simply sitting with my Bible open.

It shows us the power of music.

So, at times, I do wish life had a soundtrack to it. And maybe you’d agree.

But reality seems to suggest that this is not possible (well, unless you walked around everywhere with headphones stuck in your ears). When I am being tempted, when I am wanting life to end because I don’t think I can handle it any longer, when I am at my wits end on how to be the husband or father Jesus has called me to be, no music seems to rise out of the background to spur me on. It’s normally silent, except for the possible questions in my head and cries in my heart.

It takes a little more strength, a strength centered in the power of Christ and his Spirit, a strength stirred by the people of God surrounding us, both the past and current cloud of witnesses.

But would music change things? Or maybe at first it would do something, but after a time we would start making excuses. We are good with excuses, aren’t we?

When thinking about this, an OT passage always comes to my mind:

The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph 3:17)

Soooo……maybe there is a soundtrack to life. But why don’t we always hear the Father’s song?

I suppose the song of the Father can be heard a little more easily when we are attentive to him. But my ears and eyes are not so diligent. It’s those excuses that get in the way. The Father’s song is, no doubt, multi-varied in all its composition and words, seeing that he is the Inexhaustible One.

I do wish I heard the music more. I do wish my ears could catch the song(s) from heaven a bit more. And I don’t even think the song has to be so “ethereal” or “spiritual.” Remember, Zeph 3:17 says that God is a mighty warrior who saves-delivers. I reckon the songs are not always soothing, but sometimes powerful.

After pondering these things, it makes me want to walk around with little white earphones in my ears, so I can have those stirring moments like I’ve had before in airports or alone in my office. And there’s nothing wrong with that. God certainly uses songs in the here and now as they emulate the great Musician. But I must know that life has some kind of “soundtrack” – to heal, to restore, to invigorate, to empower. And I want to pique my ears just a bit more to see if I can catch it.

Those movie characters shouldn’t get that privilege over us, should they?

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