Dance, Even When It’s Hard
Do you know the music? The story? Prince Siegfried falls in love with Odette, who is a swan by day and a beautiful maiden by night. Siegfried promises to marry her, which will break the spell. Later, Siegfried is deceived by Rothbart, the one who enchanted Odette, and Siegfried ends up swearing an oath to marry the enchanter’s daughter, thinking she is Odette. Unable to break Rothbart’s curse, Siegfried and Odette throw themselves into the lake and die. That was the original storyline. Today, however, most ballets conclude with a happy ending.
We don’t like sad endings. But, this week, as the theme of Swan Lake ran through my mind, I was pressed to embrace reality. Life is hard. Stuff happens. Rarely can I make life go the way I want. Due to aging, we recently had to replace our water heater, garage door opener, dishwasher, and then our chlorine generator was destroyed by the Texas February freeze. Mark needs a heart valve replaced. I need my crooked, degenerative spine replaced (but, since that can’t happen :), I’m getting medial branch blocks). We discovered all of this in the last four months. How can we dance, how can we embrace music in our lives in the midst of the struggle?
Our pastor has been giving a series of talks on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). He points out that the first and the last beatitudes relate to the present. Sandwiched between these are future-oriented ones.
Everyone is called to be part of the kingdom. The poor. The rich. Those who mourn. Those who laugh. Those who are hungry. Those who are full. No matter our circumstances, we can experience kingdom living now to the degree that we connect our present to what is stored up for us in the future. How do we experience the freedom of dance, the freedom of music, amidst the heartache and trials of this present life? As my pastor pointed out, it can only be done when our house is built upon a rock.
A journalist recently asked William Shatner of Star Trek fame what he wishes he had known at 20 that he knows now at 90. His answer was, “nothing matters in the end, what goes up must come down.”
But that’s not what Matthew 7:25 says. It says that a house built on the rock does not fall. It weathers the storm in the in-between time as it clings to the rock—a living rock, found in the person of Jesus Christ. And I can have a relationship with Him now, and continue to enjoy that relationship throughout eternity!
In the early ’70’s I heard a song that has never left me. It reminds me that, when we build our lives upon the rock talked about in Matthew 7:25, we can withstand whatever pressures come our way. And the pressures will come. Of that, we are guaranteed. Written by John Fischer in 1974, the song is simple, but the message goes deep. Here’s the chorus:
Love Him in the morning
When you see the sun a-rising
Love Him in the evening
‘Cause He took you through the day
And in the in-between time
When you feel the pressure coming
Remember that He loves you
And He promises to stay
Yes, in the in-between time, we will have trouble. But, in spite of it, we can experience peace now. We can take heart. As Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Listen to Swan Lake and embrace all that life throws your way. The good and the bad. Then, listen to John Fischer’s song and make sure you’re building your house upon the solid rock that will enable you to weather the storms.
Life is hard. The rock is harder.
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