As a child, I clung to music as my lifeline in the midst of unlivable situations. My family had two lives. One was Satanic. The other was Christian. I find this incredibly difficult to reconcile. I assume that the church-going, Bible-thumping lifestyle was a mask for the dark nightlife for my parents. For me, however, Christ held me together. Hymns and worship songs were my mind and soul glue for as far back as I can remember. I was driving to therapy this morning, listening to a Pandora station, when an old hymn popped up. It was re-written with a more contemporary flare, but it whisked me straight back to age four or five. I remember, as a child, weeping when I listened to this song on my children’s worship cassette tape.
The soul houses a language that goes oh so much deeper than mere human words can extend, and I believe that music reaches just a little bit deeper into our hearts. There are ancient harmonies that, I believe, predate the creation of this planet, that our immortal souls ache for. This is only a theory that I have, though I probably derived it in part from the great Madeline L’Engle.
Nevertheless, while listening to my Pandora station, “This is My Father’s World” began to play. In my heart, a cacophony of grief, joy, comfort, agony, anger, and gratitude erupted. How could all of this be sparked by one simple hymn? I tried desperately in that moment to figure out how as I child I could have experienced such heights of spiritual rapture and depths of demonic torment even within the same 24-hour period. As I was wondering this, I heard the line, “This is my Father’s world, oh let me never forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
The wrong was strong. It was so strong. It almost killed me. It tried to steal my soul and rip apart my brain, but God is the Ruler yet. Still. Even in the face of crazy terrible evil. Somehow, He is still good. He still loves me. He is still all-powerful. One day, I will understand. One day, I will see it clearly. One day, light will destroy the dark. One day, right will un-do wrong. One day, death will be no more. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, God is the Ruler yet. I don’t get it, not it all. But I know. I know that He is the Ruler because the ancient harmonies are still being sung. I could hear them when evil people were trying to destroy me, and I can still hear them.
“This Is My Father’s World”
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rock and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning bright, the Lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world. He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass. He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world; Oh let me never forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world; Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King, let the heavens ring! God reigns, let earth be glad!