When rehearsing with the church musical groups and my piano students I will often ask them to read music without singing or touching the keyboard. This practice helps them look more closely at the music and discover things they did not see before. When people sing or play instruments, they become so involved in the technical complexity of making music they sometimes miss the message that the composers wanted revealed through their music. 


I believe that we need the same approach to communicate with God. If we believe that our life must be guided by God, we need to listen closely and follow His direction. Just as musicians need music, Christians need the Bible. Can reading the Bible guarantee that we will be successful in our attempt to communicate with God? How do we know that we are receiving the right messages from God?


Musicians need a reasonable amount of time and training in studying music to reach the point where they can get the right message from sheet music by themselves. A musician’s training includes a mentor to provide direction and listening to other performers and imitating them. As Christians, we also need time to grow to the point where we can read the Bible and understand God’s message. Our training includes praying, listening to well-prepared sermons and meeting often with sincere fellow believers. We are blessed to have a wonderful church where we can participate in all of these activities.


We are living through a time of economic difficulty and many of us have lost jobs, homes and our feeling of security. However, for people who believe in God and are longing for God’s guidance, these hard times can be an opportunity to become closer to Him. When we are ill we slow down and rest, although it means not participating in the activities we enjoy the respite helps bring our strength back. Let us slow down, praise God, pray to God, listen to God closely so that, with God’s help, we will get our strength back again. God is always with us and we especially find Him close when we are in difficult times.