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  • Baptist Beacon

Turning up the volume

FENTON, MI – Some people are lucky, some see themselves as fortunate, but I am blessed. The idea of blessing has as its source the hand of God. I have been blessed by the hand of God in a myriad of ways, but especially with the woman that God has given me as my wife. God knew who and what I needed far in advance of what my finite mind could conjure up. He knew the personality she would need to deal with all of my eccentricities and flaws. He also knew that she would have to possess a loving and forgiving spirit because of all the unconditional love she would have to show me, and the almost unlimited forgiveness that she would need to offer me on a daily basis.

I know that there is not a perfect wife out there, but mine comes as close to perfection as any could. She is kind, thoughtful and giving. In fact, her motivational gift is that of giving, and she exercises that gift very well. She is always surprising me with wonderful gifts on special occasions. Many Christmases ago she discovered and purchased for me an antique Victrola Phonograph. It is a beautiful piece of machinery, and a very nice representation of the craftsmen furniture makers of the time. It was built in 1904, and still works beautifully as it spins and plays those thick 78rpm recordings. Today, it resides in my office at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan where periodically it will provide some old Benny Goodman tunes for the entertainment, and at times, amusement of my guests.

It amazes me that every aspect of the sound reproduction that the Victrola provides comes from entirely mechanical means. There is no electricity or the use of electronics used to reproduce and amplify the sound. The genius of Mr. Edison’s invention is that an individual storing up kinetic energy when a spring is wound up and then released provides the only power that is required. The volume of a phonograph is controlled by opening or closing louvers or doors. It is a simplistically ingenious machine, and for it’s time was cutting edge technology.

Today the recording, reproduction and amplification of sound are not even in the same realm as the old phonographs. Today, the power of electrical currents are transformed and channeled through a maze of electronic wizardry to provide us with sounds that can mimic anything in nature, and can be amplified in such magnitude that hundreds of thousands of listeners can hear a recording at one time. Phonographs could scarcely allow the listeners in one room the pleasure of music.

From the early phonographs to our present electronic marvels, power has been used to increase the volume of song. Power, whether provided by the turning of a human arm or by the turning of electric turbines powered by nuclear reactors, is what brings the music to our ears and increases the quality of the song. Power is invaluable if the song is to be heard. In our lives each of us has a song to sing, a song of hope and love, a song of faith and forgiveness, a song of grace and mercy. The songs that we hold in our hearts are as varied as the souls that possess them. If they are to be heard by others, at times,the volume and quality of the song must be increased.

To my amazement and surprise, I have found that God uses the power of pain to accomplish that. God uses pain in our lives to “crank-up” the volume of the song of our souls so that others may hear how, even in the midst of our difficulties and our disasters, God’s faithfulness and mercy still resounds in our souls. I know of few things in our lives that causes me to become more manifestly melodic than having come through great pain and finding God’s grace on the other side. Pain in our lives draws the attention and ears of those around us because all of mankind is keenly aware that we all have or will experience pain; mental pain, emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain and pains too numerous to mention. This is the lot of humanity. So when someone sings on the other side of pain or more especially in the midst of pain, folks take notice, not only do they notice, but we notice as well that the volume seems higher and the quality greater than before the experience.

Many today have only experienced the song of a primitive phonograph kind of pain, but if God is good and gracious to you it may be your privilege that He allows you to experience the kind of pain that produces a volume and quality of song that comes from a high-fidelity, surround-sound kind of pain. Right now, you may be going through some of the most difficult times of your life. Right now, the pain may be unbearable. Just remember, on the other side is a song from your soul that has increased in volume and quality. It will be a song you will love to sing and a song that others will long to hear. Just crank up the volume.



Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.


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