On the afternoon of December 7, 2012 (the day after Jaime passed away), I went to the mailbox and found that a friend had sent a CD with a note enclosed…”Listen to this when you can.” When I got back to the house, I put in the CD and listened. When I play music, I listen not only to the words, but also to the composition of the piece. I listen for instrumental transitions – the entire piece tells a story – more so then the words, at times. The song, “Thou, Oh Lord” (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir) is straight from Psalm Chapter 3, as David fled for his life…from his own son (Absalom), who sought to overthrow his father’s kingdom.
“O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
Many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set them against me all around.
Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah”
I can picture, an out-of-breath King David, hiding in a cave, or behind brush, crying out to God to spare his life (look back at those first lines). He was rightfully scared. The odds were stacked against him. And then, he offers that conjunction-phrase that is a turning point for each of us in our season of trial…”But you, O Lord…” Pain and darkness had loomed over our home for months. And as the reality of Jaime’s soon departure set in, hope and peace was a scarce commodity. Yet, just like David, hiding in the “winter” of his reign, God spoke truth into my darkness. “James, I AM your shield! I AM the glory and the lifter of your head!” Those final days, as I painfully asked God how long Jaime would hang on before her journey would end and she would find true rest, “I cried unto the Lord with my voice! And He heard me, out of His holy hill.” God never told me the day or time, just encouraged my heart and gave me the strength to love her until death separated our beautiful marriage. Night after night since Jaime left, “I lay down and slept and woke again…and the Lord sustained me.” Friends, listen to this song. Listen and see if you can’t relate to the “story” of the song. Hopelessness overwhelms the beginning score. However, as the choir sings, “Thou, Oh Lord are a shield for me,” over and over, there is hope that swells to a triumphant finale. This passage is truly a song for the winter with a bold promise that spring is on the way.