Create Something Wonderful
By Maria Fontaine
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The violin and the broken string
There is a story, versions of which can be found on several websites, about the world-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman. It illustrates a beautiful principle about God’s grace and power, how He can take whatever we have to offer Him in this life and make it into something beautiful. I’d like to recount it for you.
Itzhak Perlman was playing to a packed house one evening when, in the middle of a piece, that sound, dreaded by every violinist on stage, pierced the air—the sound of a violin string breaking!
The suspense in the air was palpable as the orchestra stopped, waiting to see what Itzhak would do. But rather than calling for a different violin, he paused for a moment and signaled for the conductor to continue with the piece; as he took on what most would say was an impossible task: to play a complex piece of music on a violin with only three strings. He played with passion and power and seemed to somehow be reworking the notes in his head as he played. When he finished, there was a stunned silence followed by a roar of applause and cheering from both the audience and the other musicians.
Itzhak Perlman had been no stranger to challenges in his life, having been struck down as a child with polio that had left him permanently in leg braces and on crutches. Amid the cheers he struggled to his feet and motioned for the audience to quiet down.
Then he humbly said, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
As I pondered this story, it reminded me of the gifts we have in this life and how they come in all forms and shapes and sizes. Some seem obvious: the beautiful voice, the highly skilled gymnast, the brilliant musician, the computer genius, and so many others.
But how often do we stop to think about those other gifts that also fill the lives of so many—the blindness that develops other senses to such a degree that the person is able to accomplish even greater feats, or the weakness of body that with God’s love creates a supernatural tenderness, a compassion and wisdom in someone that is able to turn the lives of others around and bring them new hope, direction, and joy?
Life is filled with blessings (things we see as good) and setbacks (things we see as bad), but whatever we face, when we do it with God’s help, it becomes an opportunity to use what we have in order to create something wonderful.
Itzhak’s comprehension of how to turn defeats into greater accomplishments didn’t just happen by chance. He chose to turn his own lifelong suffering into a tool for good that then became a passion to see every obstacle as an opportunity to go even further. His own physical struggles produced a humility that helped to shield him from the corruption of pride, even in the areas where he was highly accomplished.
All those things were gifts that could be shared with others through his example. Too often people turn to victimization in today’s world, blaming everyone and everything else, even God. The better choice is to use the things we possess in order to develop qualities that can enable us to shine brightly with His love where we are.
If you feel weak, His strength is made perfect in weakness.
If you feel sorrow, remember that sorrow may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.
When hope seems gone, He is your hope.
When fear encompasses you, perfect love casts out fear.
When you feel lost, He is more to you than a light and better than a known way.
When you feel condemned, remember that there is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus.
If you feel you can’t go on, remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
When you have to wait
If we take the time to count our blessings, we’ll find that most of the time the Lord is extremely merciful to us. He so often cares for us when we don’t deserve it. He patiently waits for us to understand and learn, and forgives our outbursts and struggles to trust in Him. He knows our frame, that we’re just dust, and often He sends healing and the answers to our prayers even before we call.
But there are times when He knows that the best requires us to wait or to walk by faith through some experiences. In those times faith becomes the bond between Him and us that carries us through until we can understand the greater good that He is bringing about.
I felt something in my eye when I woke up one morning, but when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see anything that would cause the discomfort. So, I prayed that the Lord would either dissolve it or bring it to a place where I could see it to remove it. After a while when nothing had happened, I asked Him, “Lord, why isn’t this getting better?” His patient reply was, “Sometimes you have to wait.”
It wasn’t something major. It was just a minor issue, but the Lord was trying to show me something important. He was interested right then in illustrating a valuable principle.
So often we pray sincerely for something that we feel we need Him to do, either for ourselves or for someone else, and from our perspective we need it right now. But if we don’t see anything happen, we pray more desperately, wondering, “Lord, why aren’t You helping? Why don’t You bring the rescue? Why don’t You address this difficult situation? Why don’t You give what’s needed? You must know how urgent this is!” When we don’t see an answer immediately, we so easily get impatient.
Sometimes, He may be waiting for us to stop and listen to what He’s trying to help us understand. He may be stretching our faith in order to strengthen our convictions to trust Him even when our plans get delayed. He may be planning something far better as a more complete answer to our heart cry. He may be developing unseen qualities like empathy, compassion, mercy, and wisdom in our lives. This development requires us to experience at least some of the difficulties that others pass through.
For His children, the blessings, the benefits, and the struggles of this life, in whatever form they come, have the ultimate goal of helping us to grow closer to God, to help us become more like Him.
When you call, you can know that He has heard your cry, He has seen your tears, His heart understands—and He has answered according to His will and in whatever way He knows is best! He knows that He’s going to bring about a beautiful outcome.
So remember, when you pray, He hears. When you intercede, He answers. Even if you don’t see the answer right away (or ever in this life, for that matter), be of good courage. He has promised to give you the answer to your prayers, along with the strengthening of your heart and your faith!
When what you face requires having patience for the greater good to come, hold on to the promise “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Be patient and have faith.
Compiled from posts by Maria published in 2019. Republished on Anchor
February 2022. Read by Debra Lee.