Do you remember the last time God unexpectedly touched you? We all desire for His presence in our lives daily. But sometimes, He chooses an unexpected moment or an unusual circumstance to really reach us deeply.
One of those times happened to me in December of last year. I was deeply stressed out about a number of things. Mind you, I tend to be a pretty upbeat person, and I’m not much of a worrier. But in this rare case, I was pretty down about several things beyond my control.
It was one evening after Christmas shopping and my oldest son Matthew wanted me to drive through his favorite fast food taco place. I wasn’t in the mood but decided to make him happy. Matthew is on the mild end of the autism spectrum, and this is one of the few places he really likes.
(A little side note about autism — when Matthew was diagnosed, we were told he would not like any sort of physical contact, would not have a sense of humor, and would most likely have very little empathy for others).
We were sitting in the drive thru, and I was dwelling on all the outside pressures that were causing me stress. It was dark, and I was sure that Matthew did not notice how downtrodden my face probably looked. About that time, he asked me what was wrong. I didn’t want to go into a lot of detail, so I simply tried to tell him I was stressed. In fact, I took several minutes trying to downplay how deeply I was hurting.
Suddenly, Matthew reached across the seat, gently took my hand, and said, “Dad, it’s gonna be alright.” That one little act pierced through me in a way I can’t explain. My autistic son, in a momentary suspension of his disability, reminded me that God has not forgotten me. My stress became overwhelmed by God’s peace — a peace that surpasses all understanding.
We got home, and Matthew went through the rest of the evening like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. However, I had to share that moment with my wife. We shared some joyful tears over what had transpired. Like many parents of handicapped children, we tend to spend a lot of time wondering (and sometimes stressing) about what lies ahead for them. God used that night to remind us that we can continually cast our cares on Him, for He cares for us.
There are those who think of God as some “man upstairs” who really doesn’t care to get involved in our lives. The Bible, however, proclaims loudly that He is ever present, intimately concerned, and uses specific moments in time to touch us with His loving-kindness.
When Jesus became flesh, He did what the religious leaders of the day refused to do — He touched people. When others would have run or shied away from those with leprosy, Jesus touched them to heal them. On several occasions, Jesus touched the eyes of the blind. In fact, He even spit in the dirt and rubbed the mud on the eyes of a blind man. There are so many times He simply reached out to the hurting to show them that God’s love for them was personal.
The leper, the blind, the adulterous, the lame, and the demon-possessed all had something in common. They were outcasts from society and even their own families. In each case, Christ showed them that they were not too far from the love of the Father.
As those who have also been touched by the love of Jesus, we need to remember that He calls us to recognize those around us who are afflicted and hurting. Sometimes those folks sit right in front of us during rehearsal. They are choir members, praise team vocalists, children’s choir members, instrumentalists, or maybe tech team members. They may be stressed about their job, worried about one of their children, or just spiritually weary. They may have come to rehearsal for some spark of hope in their struggles.
Most people don’t readily admit when they are struggling. If you pay close attention, you may just find that one of your ministry team members needs someone to look past their “I have to look happy” face and recognize their hurt. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize these folks. Ask for guidance to truly minister to them. Sometimes just a word of encouragement will lift them up. Send them a handwritten note just to tell them you’ve prayed for them. And pray with them as the Lord provides the opportunity.
Teach your ministry members that what they do is more than performing. The congregation pays attention to their demeanor and how they worship. Help them remember that they are not only singing and playing, but they are also worshipping and ministering. In addition to rehearsing notes and rhythms, help them learn to show the joy, or power, the heartfelt cry of what they’re singing.
Remember the purpose of your music ministry. Is it for excellent music? Yes. Is it a place for people to use their musical gift for God? Yes. But most of all, it’s to be an avenue for God to work in the hearts of hurting people.
He sees and knows who needs His touch. He knows those who are struggling with financial issues. He feels the ache of those who have family members running away from His presence. He knows the unspoken, deep hurts even of you, the one He’s called to ministry. He sees every downtrodden face.
And He is right here, reaching out His hand to ours, ready to pierce our hearts with the truth that everything is going to be alright.
About the Author: Marvin Copaus is Sales Manager at Brentwood Benson. He has been with the company almost 20 years and in music ministry 40 years. Marvin and his wife Rita live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with their two sons, along with several dogs and cats. Marvin currently serves churches in Middle Tennessee by doing international interim music ministry.