My brother-in-law used to tease us that riding in our family van was like being in the Partridge Family bus. We decided to take that as a compliment, though we prefer to be compared to the von Trapp Family Singers. Whatever the case may be, Bozarths always have some song stuck in our heads. And, what’s stuck in our head comes out our mouth via humming or singing. There are times when one song gets stuck indefinitely. When that happens, my brother Jonathan and I figured out as kids that the best way to get unstuck is to sing Yankee Doodle. For some reason, this tune never gets stuck. So, we can sing it in the interim, while our brain searches for some new song to replace it.
I think King David could relate to the Bozarth family. He was a man of music, a compulsive hummer and songwriter, lyre-player and singer. In fact, before becoming king, he was hired by King Saul for his musical skills – to play and sing and calm Saul’s nerves (1 Samuel 16:14-23). Unfortunately, Saul had a nasty temper and eventually turned against David, throwing spears at him, hunting him down, determined to kill him (1 Samuel 18-20). Let’s just say, not an easy boss to work for. At times like these, when David was on the run and life was turned upside down, the songwriter became stuck. New songs were silenced as the words caught in his throat, choked back by tears or fear or frustration. Humming drifted off, fading to an echo, a mere memory of music written during his days on the hills as a shepherd. David had faced enemies before: lions, bears, even the giant named Goliath. But he’d never faced unjust anger aimed directly, personally, and dangerously at himself. Did he have the physical power to take down King Saul? Yes. But he refused to attack a ruler God had anointed and placed in power (1 Samuel 24-26). So, he hid in caves, trying to decide what to do. David had entered the “muck and mire.” His life was in a pit, and he could not free himself from it. At this point, he had a choice: despair and give up; wriggle and writhe, trying to get free on his own strength; or wait patiently for God to rescue him. The mighty warrior decided to wait. His reward, in the end was a new solid foundation, secure steps without fear, and a new song in his mouth…a song of praise to the God who had saved him (2 Samuel 5-7).
The calligraphy above was painted recently for a friend’s wedding. Though not a passage we typically think of at wedding celebrations, it captures much of the journey that my friend has been on. She walked through the turbulence of having her life turned upside down. She choked on tears of sorrow, fear and frustration in the “pit.” And through it all, she waited patiently for the mighty God who could make life new. This wedding celebration was the culminating note – the crescendo of a new song – as laughter and joy, praise and thanksgiving were on her lips. Walking down the aisle to meet a man who loves and cherishes her, her steps were secure. Like David, she can’t help but hum and sing a song of praise to the God who has made (and continues to make) all things new.