One night I had a dream, and I was playing the piano out on a wide expanse of dry, cracked ground. It was very hot outside, and the sun was bearing down hard. Off in the distance was a city. Very soon people started walking towards the piano from behind me. Their mouths were cracked from the dry air, and they were thirsty and hoarse. I kept playing, and without a word I pointed to the city. They all started walking back, and I knew they had been gone for a long time - they were going back to their homes, their churches, and their friends. Many people have left their roots in this age of confusion and doubt. I am hoping that this poem and the commentary that follows will encourage people to go back to what they know is right in their hearts. I hope they will not give up, and that they will realize how much they miss the things they left behind. I hope my music - and this web site - will help them to “Strengthen the things that remain” (Revelation 3:2).

Can You Hear The Piano?

 

Said the girl to the boy

Who had no joy

Whose lips were cracked

From water they lacked

 

And the sun beat down

On them all around

As they walked along

Without any song

 

Can you hear the piano?

 

They wandered along the ground

So dry the only sound

Were their sliding feet

Too tired to walk but too anxious to retreat

 

And it had been so long

Since they had heard a song

That made them smile

But for awhile

 

Can you hear the piano?

 

They left everything that they once knew

Someone told them “It’s not for you,”

“Nothing you’ve been taught forever,”

“Is anything but a lie so clever,”

 

But now they wandered all alone

In the dry and weary land with nothing sown

They thought they left the lies behind

But nothing out here was very kind

 

Can you hear the piano?

 

Over a hill they dragged their feet

To the sound that was so sweet

They shielded their eyes from the sun

That beat down hard as they started to run

 

They saw a black piano out in the waste

And their hearts could only cry out in haste

Longing for the sounds they used to hear

When life was good and love was near

 

Can you hear the piano?

 

They both were completely amazed

That the sun’s heat couldn’t stop the sounds raised

And the piano player pointed to the place

Where they once lived and life embraced

 

To the silver city and the place they knew

Where people loved them and they once grew

When faith came from a simple trust

That stood against the windy gusts

 

Can you hear the piano?

 

It’s still playing your song

It’s been playing so very long

It’s calling all the people who have wandered away

To “better things” so they say

 

But nothing is better way out here

Where we’ve wandered every year

Nothing has gotten better and answers never came

There are no answers here – it’s still the same

 

But listen… I hear a piano.

 

Written for those who have left their church and beliefs from childhood because the world said “Leave your home, it’s all a lie.”

Randy Stahla - Copyright 2008

The Wisdom I Don’t Understand

 

When a person loses a loved one, they need the wisdom that no one understands. When they go through a divorce, they need the wisdom that no one understands. But sometimes they get so discouraged they just drop out.

 

It’s the same old story I’ve heard so many times – people left what they believed about God since they were a child because someone else convinced them it wasn’t true. But what do they have now? Probably nothing – nothing that really helps them in the dry and dusty desert of life.

 

Their new beliefs may help them with psychological issues, but I have seen a nagging emptiness inside them that is asking, “What happened to the power – the guidance – the well of wisdom that used to give me a peace and assurance that someone bigger than me was going to take care of me?” The power they need comes through prayer – “Believing that God exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). God answers prayer, and he is an “Ever present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

 

As gunshots are fired across college campuses, as fearful events confront us almost every day, philosophical sayings aren’t going to cut it. If your life is pretty easy – that’s different. But most people are really struggling. You might have some good ideas, you might have some helpful sayings, but where is the power that raised Christ from the dead?

 

Nothing is easy. God hasn’t  given us a revelation that is a snap to understand. And for those who love to find contradictions, the Bible gives them a field day. For each new flaw they find, there is a great shout of victory. And so they “win” – but I’m not sure what the prize is.

 

If you are still clinging to your Bible, sometimes it is like standing in a hail storm. Maybe the best thing to do is go inside out of the storm and really look into things. People do that with quantum physics. They do it with medical research. They do it with treasure maps.

 

Can you imagine a person with a treasure map giving up their search the first time someone tells them “It’s all a lie?” They wouldn’t – why do believers give up so easily? Just because you haven’t found all the answers to contradictions doesn’t mean you should just throw everything away.

 

And if you think about it, would a person who had a treasure map expect the map to give them directions on how to fly an airplane, or how to build a bridge? Some people think that the Bible should give them all of that and more. I say they’re wrong.

 

The Bible isn’t a book of history. It has history in it, but it doesn’t describe history the way historians would want it to be. It’s not a book of science. It doesn’t describe all the details of geology or chemistry. The main purpose of the Bible is to explain one really long story – the story of Jesus Christ. And his message is very plain and simple. He gave his life for us. The Bible talks about heaven, but it certainly isn’t a guidebook to the streets and buildings in the afterlife. If you are expecting your Bible to give you things it doesn’t have, then you are in trouble.

 

There are lots of people who have thrown away their Bibles because of troublesome passages. But this is where we should struggle and try to understand, because our God doesn’t want us to give up.

 

Maybe he has given us burdensome questions to drive us to understand things that will help us get through the hard times. Had we never struggled to understand, we wouldn’t have found some of the clues we needed for our own life. But if we stop struggling, then we will probably wander away into a dry, empty desert. God doesn’t want us to wander; he wants us to find him.

 

There are plenty of troublesome passages in the Bible. For example, in one place, it says that Moses “Spoke to God face-to-face.” In other places, it says, “No one can see God and live.” This contradiction is a “paradox,” which means “beyond opinion” in the original Greek. It is a statement that is inexplicable yet true.  But it can be turned into a great way to understand more about God.

 

One of the most important rules in Biblical interpretation is that scripture interprets scripture. This means that we use the whole counsel of God to explain difficult passages. So in this case, we should look all over the Bible for clues on how to understand this paradox.

 

In John chapter 1:18, it says, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made him known.”

 

In John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

 

This means that Jesus was with God and that Jesus is God at the same time.

 

So when Moses saw God face-to-face, he saw Jesus. He didn’t see the Father. This is an enigma – that Moses saw God but he didn’t see God.

 

In quantum physics we have seeming contradictions as well. They have shown that electrons can go from one atomic orbit to another and then back again in zero time. How can that be? It’s a paradox – an enigma.

 

The point is that life is filled with enigmas. We need the wisdom we don’t understand to have peace and assurance during problems and situations that are too big for us.

 

People need this wisdom given to them from a faithful God who lives on a higher plane than they do. They need power to stabilize their emotions, to calm their anger, to shield them from fear, to give them wisdom and a peace that flies above the ground below where bombs are going off. Praying to a God who really has power is different than simply living by a guidebook or some rules for life. 

 

Sometimes you can’t do anything about your situation. That’s when you can pray,  “God, please fight this battle for me. It’s too big. Please give me the strength I need to go forward, and to hang on to your wisdom that I don’t understand.”

 

 

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Blue Ballerina” was written for those who have lost someone because of a crime.