“You need to be okay with where you are,” my piano instructor said to me with kind eyes and an encouraging smile, lifting my spirits and giving me a glimpse of hope on a day when I needed it most.
For half of a decade, I have dreamed of sitting down to my grandmother’s Baldwin piano and playing from start to finish one of the most beautiful songs ever composed. Clair De Lune may be among the most popular pieces of classical music—and it may have been featured in countless movies throughout time—but to me, it is a work of art that puts on display just how intricately God designed us and the world we live in. I mean, how can anyone hear such gorgeous sounds and not believe in their creator?
But for years, I have allowed my Clair De Lune sheet music to gather dust—that is, with the exception of an occasional failed attempt. Every now and then, I’d muster up the courage to sit down, brush off the dust, open the book and set it before me on the piano. I’d take a deep breath, start off steady for a few moments, for just a few measures, and then I’d stop. I just can’t do this on my own.
So I’d fold it back up and put it out of sight. Maybe next time. But after three years void of attempt, I decided to ask for help. Last year, I signed up for the private lessons I so desperately need to reach my goal.
But reaching that goal is not going to happen overnight. After months and months of taking one baby step at a time to learn the song, I’ve reached a point of frustration with my slow progress. Can I really do this? Do I have what it takes to persevere? Will it actually be worth it? And my instructor says to me, “This is difficult, and that’s okay. You need to be okay with where you are right now.”
And isn’t our life and faith the same? Don’t we reach a point where we feel that we are being consumed by our circumstances—our fears, our worries and our troubles? Can I really do this? Do I have what it takes to persevere? Will it actually be worth it? And it’s as if Jesus is saying, “This is difficult, I know that. You need to be okay with where I have you right now.”
Well let me tell you—the reward for persevering will be worth the temporary pain. Read with me what James says about our present suffering:
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” James 5:7-11
Despite what I am going through, the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Difficult times are times when I must remain steadfast, put my hope in God and pray that he will guide me each step of the way. These are times when I have to remember the sacrifice that was made for me, and rejoice in my salvation. These are the times when I must play the notes I can, and ask for help when I get to the ones I can’t.
The reality is that I’m learning to ask for help not only with piano but also with my life and faith. I’m learning to be content. I’m learning to live this life one note at a time.