I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
The orchestra members filed onto the stage, purposefully walking to their respective sections and seats. The first few minutes were spent tuning instruments, adjusting stands and organizing music before the conductor stepped onto the podium. This day is forever-etched into my mind. A day when beautiful music was made, and a significant life lesson was instilled into my very being.
Honor Orchestra, the first of my high school career. Several months earlier, I’d sent in my audition tape, and was pleasantly surprised to have been selected. You see, I was a freshman, and had only been playing the cello for three years in our school’s orchestra. Shortly after arriving to the venue, I discovered that most of these kids played in their school’s orchestra and took private lessons. So, they were really, really good. And I felt like a ‘duck out of water’.
Later in the day, there were chair auditions for each section of instruments. Given the fact that I was the newbie around these parts, I fully expected to be last chair. When the announcement was made, I was shocked to discover I had been selected to be first chair of the cello section. To be honest, I thought it was a mistake. I mean, I’d worked hard, practiced hours and hours, but kept thinking, “I’m a freshman! I can’t be first chair.”
During the first rehearsal, I was a bundle of nerves. Not wanting to miss a single beat, I did my best to keep my eyes on the music while watching the conductor’s every move. Fearful that I’d be demoted if I messed up. Then, just like that, the music stopped, and the conductor sternly said, “Keep your eyes on your music! Don’t look at me!”
My body froze. My heart was racing, nearly beating out of my chest. I wondered if I’d played a wrong note. I could feel his eyes on me, as he spoke, “Keep your eyes on your music. But tell me, what color is my shirt and tie?” I felt the room spinning around me, and nervously I spoke, “You have a reddish-maroon shirt on with a black and white tie with speckles on it.”
As the words came out of my mouth, the conductor began to jump up and down on the podium, causing the entire orchestra to nearly jump out of our seats. He threw his hands into the air, and exclaimed, “YES! YES! That is correct!” Finally, taking our eyes off of our music stands, we looked around at each other completely puzzled.
Then, he shared,
“You can’t be so focused on the notes that you miss me, and where I am guiding you. Just as you practice playing the notes on the page, you must also train your eyes to see the conductor on the podium. If not, you may miss something very, very important. Intently follow both. Follow one, you merely play notes on a page. Follow both, you make music! So, how about we make some beautiful music together!”
And we did. And on that day, I learned it didn’t matter how long I’d been playing cello, or that I didn’t take private lessons. What mattered was keeping my eyes on the conductor.
As I read Psalm 32:8 today, a flood of memories from that day washed over me. The insight from my orchestra conductor can be applied to the Christian life. You see, we can become so consumed with the details and circumstances of our lives that we take our eyes off the Master Conductor. Perhaps, forgetting that Father God remains by our side with each step we take, every decision we make and in all situations that we face.
When we take our eyes off of Him and focus on all that needs to be done, there’s a tendency to be afraid and to become completely overwhelmed. Surely, we need to be aware of the happenings of our daily lives. But where should our focus be? It should be on our Father. Our eyes should be focused on Him.
And not only are we to keep our eyes on Him, but He keeps His eyes on us! Guiding us and directing us in the ways we should go. Because He loves us, and wants us to know Him, His will and His ways. And we get to know God by spending time with Him in prayer, by reading His word, and in learning to hear His still, small voice.
Have you spent some time with the Conductor today? You know, He’s got some special music to create with you. And I bet it’s amazing! Don’t miss out!