1 Samuel 16:23 (NIV)
Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
World War III was almost declared a couple of years ago. A young couple touring New Zealand rented the services of a helicopter company to fly to White island, a surreal place that is actually an active volcano. The couple enjoyed their outing, and to preserve this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, the husband took plenty of pictures with his digital camera.
When it came time to fly back, he amused himself in the helicopter by reviewing his White Island pictures. Some of them turned out far better than he had anticipated, and he couldn't help boasting a little.
Overcome by curiosity, his wife asked if she could review the pictures. He dutifully passed the camera to the back seat, and she spent the next half an hour reviewing them one at a time. She had only gotten halfway through when her husband spotted more photo opportunities, and promising she could have the camera back in a few moments, he reached for the camera.
It's then that the husband (Not the volcano!) blew: "What did you do to my pictures?" He demanded.
"I admired them," came the honest answer.
"But half of them are gone!"
"What do you mean, gone?" His wife asked.
"I mean they have been deleted from the camera!"
"I don't know how that could have happened," she responded, rather defensively. "The only button I pushed was the one that made the pictures advance!"
Only too late did she realize that the button she had been pushing was not the "forward" button at all, but the "delete" button!
Unfortunately for the poor pilot, what ensued was a rather heated argument that lasted most of the way back to the helipad, only to be followed by an angry, bone-chilling silence.
I hope that this couple was able to reconcile. Otherwise, this day trip to White Island, which was supposed to be one of the highlights of their New Zealand trip, would be nothing but a bitter memory for both of them, and the remaining pictures on the camera would only serve to remind the couple of how they had very nearly been the cause of the beginning of World War III. In fact, this experience could very likely have ruined the rest of their experience in the beautiful country, because once bitterness creeps into the soul, it is there to stay. At least for a while!
Maybe they should have read 1 Sam 16:23. Maybe, with this verse on their lips, they would have been able to drive that spirit of bitterness away. Reconciliation is possible, but only by focusing away from the irreversible problems: "And it hath come to pass, in the spirit of [sadness from] God being on Saul, that David hath taken the harp, and played with his hand, and Saul hath refreshment and gladness, and the spirit of sadness hath turned aside from off him."
The right kind of music brings refreshment to the soul, lifting sadness and bitterness from the heart. The sad fact is that when we are feeling down, we become too focused on our problems to even contemplate worship music. But for those who do, sadness cannot take root in the heart.
Dear Lord, help us not let the troubles in our live rule over us and destroy our joy. Help us focus on You in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.