I have always been a morning person. As spring stretches to summer I delight in waking early and walking out into God’s morning song. My legs would take me down the street as my eyes would stare at the blooming clouds. I watch the sun rising over the trees, and the cottontails hopping in the dew with one eye on each other. My ears would listen to the birds chirping while my mind wandered on the things of God seeking the sound of His voice.
After all the events of the year, I started a morning ritual to bring God’s beauty to our hearts indoors. In the homeschool world, it is called “morning time”. To my heart, it was an extension of God’s morning song of creation. When breakfast was complete and the labor of chores finished we gathered on the floor in our table-less dining room and feasted on the manna of God. This room was nicknamed the “train room”. We discovered the joy of building and the Lord together in this yard. Our morning song curriculum was a green hymnal gifted to us by a fellow worshipper. I grew up singing in a few choirs, but I never learned to read music. Regardless, I could read the stories of saints gone before who had found hope. I’d been a Christian long enough that I could remember the tune to many songs. Each morning I sang in broken tones not to hear my voice, but to model to my three boys what worship is. Listening to a stammering three-year-old sing “Hallelujah, What a Savior” brings a divine delight. My ears never tired of their worship.
Jesus delighted in the worship of children. He touched and took extra time with them. He was not put off by their messy faces or smelly feet. Concerned parents brought diseased children to Him. He received them as blessings laying healing hands on their sin-cursed bodies. All the child hallelujahs were a joy to Him, including the noise of my three sons.
After our daily hymn, we pulled out prayer cards for missionaries, friends, and family. Seven years had passed since my chapter of full-time missions was sealed. But my heart beat for the world had never ceased. Prayer was still my heart’s affection. The day before, Sam had his first piano lesson. The week prior we attended a small piano recital of children his age. Most of the summer I had been praying for a piano putting imaginary money aside hoping God would supply. Sam’s lesson had gone so well I extemporaneously looked online at used upright pianos. Surprised, I found one for $200 in good condition. I sent a text to the owner and Robert expecting one of them to say no. Neither did. The piano was still available only an hours drive away. Next, I needed a truck as our minivan with windows covered in child love marks would not do. I made some phone calls, again expecting defeat. Before morning time started I had a truck, a trailer, blankets, and tie downs. God was forming a picture of hope in my heart. I sat the boys down and narrated the early morning events, inviting them to pray for a piano. Sam, the oldest, prayed first. With child-like boldness and faith he said, “Jesus, would you give us a piano with 88 keys and 11 octaves. Amen.” A standard piano has 52 white keys and 36 black keys, equalling 88 with 7 full octaves on the musical scale. Sam’s math missed the mark, but his faith hadn’t. I smiled and didn’t correct him as my lack of musical training revealed ignorance. If Jesus had been sitting in the room He would have remained silent as well.
When the disciples had rebuked Jesus for lingering around children He responded with indignation.
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying hands on them”. (Mark 10:14–16)
I knew we were about to experience a kingdom of God through the faith of a child kind of day. I was giddy like my wobbly toddler. Now we needed man power to load, move, and lift a piece of God’s beauty into our home. We prayed. Before lunch time we had 4 men and an inspired family.
Sam and daddy woke early the next morning on a sunrise drive of male bonding and music. I manned the home front with the little ones hoping our new to us piano would fit right where I wanted in our family room. Two hours later I received a bizarre phone call. The family heirloom was on its way, but the history of it was drawing it back. The owner asked if we might consider returning it. It belonged to their 22-year-old musical daughter. They had sold it assuming she was okay with parting from the childhood memories of the tinkering keys. I could tell the mom was distraught. She was unaware of how important this piece of her story was to her daughter. Desperate to make it right she offered to pay us more to return it. I listened speechless with my mouth gaped open unable to force words out. God had done so much to provide this piano. How could I return it? I knew I needed to talk to Robert in person before I could even consider turning back. I was expecting them soon. I responded with compassion conceding that we would discuss it as a family. But as of the present moment, the transaction was complete. I had a sense it was our Christian duty to return this treasure, but that meant God’s provision was null. I hung up thinking He must have something more as I meditated on the prayer of our child.
The men returned pulling our wrapped gift to the garage. They were aware of the family drama that was unfolding. We continued to unload. Then I received another message. The mom, who was working as hard for her daughter as I had for my boys the day prior, had found another piano. Her sister was willing to sell us the one her younger boys had grown up playing at the same price. They proposed to do all the work of transporting their prized instrument if we would exchange it. Theirs was a Grand. The one they found was a Yamaha in much better condition worth $6,000 new three hours away.
I remember what my life was like at 22 years old overwhelmed by the choices before me. Maybe this daughter needed something from her childhood to help take steps into adulthood. Maybe the family verse, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. (Joshua 24:15) that hung over her piano was snuffed out and the kindness of others would ignite it again. Joshua warned Israel in previous verses to serve the Lord in sincerity and faithfulness. To put away their false idols that Egypt had worshiped and choose this day who they were going to serve. Could returning this piano be a symbol of something greater than a wooden musical box on this day? Could this pianoforte be a headstone of our journey through the red zone of the Red Sea? We made the trade receiving the Lord’s beautiful composition.
The permanent piano fit in our home beside our archway to the kitchen. This passage leads to our gathering place, escorting guests under our family photos. The words from Romans 8 decorates the centermost point of our wall collage. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. The future sounds from our family heirloom is a testament to the love that has captured our hearts. The Lord honored the faith, prayers, and worship of our family. Not because we deserved it after the challenges we faced this year. But because He delights in hearing His songs sung back to Him, whether in tears or in joy. I pray the words Hallelujah what a Savior will continue to toll through our home, with faith like a child.