LORD, in the morning you will hear my voice; in the morning I will pray to you, and I will watch for your answer.
~ Psalm 5:3 International standard version
A second awe-filled moment, so apropos to Lent…
“Tell us the story behind your part in writing what’s become Israel’s anthem song …” he entreated entertainer Pat Boone last week via satellite TV to where the star and his wife held interview on a world away trip in Israel.
I leaned in to listen, for instantly that question warmed that feeling over me once more…just like that deeply stirring music piece* always does. As if to say, again – You’ll want to hear this. A story of how I inspire. To see and know I inspire you too…And no one is too small or insignificant to be my messenger…
Knowing Pat from numerous interviews, I knew the answer would have God’s fingerprint all over it.
Pat smiled broadly.
“Oh,” he began, “that was just a pure gift…”
Taking us back to 1960, he recalled the haunting beauty of the title song to the epic movie Exodus, depicting a novel-based story of the Jews’ return to Israel as a nation.
Immediately drawn to orchestral power of it, Pat listened over and over to the highly popular instrumental at home, something in him strangely longing to set words to it. Possibly even just to present an idea to a professional lyricist. The music tugged at him continually.
“No one had written lyrics,” he cited, “because basically three strong-willed men stood in the way – the novel’s author, the film director and the composer all had to agree. And so far they had refused all attempts as unsuitable.”
It was Christmas Eve, Pat said, when he and Shirley were wrapping gifts by the tree, the theme from Exodus once again playing in the background. Seemingly for the fortieth time, he set the record needle to the start of the song, hoping to spark an idea. Suddenly, as the tune began with its crashing notes — Bum bum…bum… bum… Bum bum, bum bum bum bum!…it was as if words just swooshed into his mind on a conductor’s baton lift.
“This land, is mine…God gave, this land, to me!”
Even as he recounted the miraculous feel of that moment, I heard the thunderous sound of that music in my mind, tears blurring his screen image before me. As I write this… the words swim once again. “Lord,” I breathed, silent at the beauty of how His spirit moves on us in “lightbulb moments,” speaks answers and creating right into our thoughts, like planting seeds and watering them through us. At how sometimes we can miss that… or think it is just us…Or that it is just a little gift… nothing extraordinary.
But how always, always it is as Pat said. A pure and wondrous gift. “Father, thank you for the ways you inspire us, help us to hear you, lead us in gifts like that… To create beauty that reflects your glory most of all…”
“With those words, I knew – this was it!” I heard Pat enthuse then, “because it just told the whole story of God and His people…”
Afraid the thought would escape him, he searched through scraps of wrapping paper, scrabbled underneath boxes, grabbed a pen, found something white to scribble it down. Within 30 minutes, he’d written the entire lyric. It wasn’t till then that he turned the paper over. Discovered, of all things…he’d written the words on the back of a Christmas card.
“I took the card to the three – and they loved it,” he said modestly. “No one knowing the great impact God would make this music have over the world. It’s been recorded time and again…And here in Israel even the children learn this song. They may not know who wrote the music or the lyrics, but they know the words and the great promise and meaning behind them.”
“And something wondrous happened with it just recently, didn’t it?” prompted the interviewer, of Pat.
He chuckled then. “Something only God could do again,” he answered. In the recent establishment of a Holocaust memorial there in Israel, the leaders had discovered the story of the “Christmas card,” approached him about donating it to the museum as historical treasure.
“I always thought I’d keep it,” Pat said a bit wistfully, showing the picture of the framed piece, “…but this just seemed of God for this time…”
“And as such a deep intercessor,” his wife Shirley added, “my heart just leaps at all I see God doing in this land…things I know I’ve prayed long and hard about…”
I brushed my eyes at this simple, yet wondrous testimony to God’s Spirit breathing into us… putting words in our hearts, giving music, leading this one over here and that one over there… putting a Christmas card into someone’s hand to forever carry a starry message to hearts of His people all over the world, to stir those who maybe don’t know Him – each time they sing or listen… To all He does through our intercessions in prayer…
I recall the Exodus theme version I’ve always heard, recorded long ago by my favorite singer. One of many secular movie hits…yet, how you can feel the anointing in music and lyric!
And in this story, I also hear so many universal whispers to my heart. Truly His heart for His promised people. The heart of His redemptive story.
But…so many times in prayer and scripture, I’ve found Him telling me this land also means whatever promise God has put in your heart and mine.
Do you have a creative God-sized dream? Is there a word in your heart to write, a song to sing, a gift to bake, an invention to create, a building to build, a landscape to design?
Are you looking to His promised word for renewed health, restored finances?
Do you often fight the doubt you are good enough, have anything to say or create, could be used of Him to touch anyone?
I’ve given you this land, He says. It belongs to you. I will bring you back and restore you 1,000-fold… Take My Hand and walk this land with Me…
He may use you to write it on a Christmas card and send it’s starry message all over the world.
He may create it through your hands and send it to just one who needs to receive…
You…or a well known star…There is no difference in His moving or in how He makes us children after His own heart, born to create and be fruitful in many-faceted ways.
Just an ear to listen, a heart to pray, an upturned spirit to watch and see what He will make of “the land” He’s given to…you.
Ah…yes, How tears can be his hints to bearing His image…
© Pam Depoyan
* If you’ve never heard the Exodus song… listen to Pat’s recording of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw0FLzUKphw )
To hear it with the original bum, bum… orchestral sound mentioned above, I’d suggest this version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEYmomUuveU
Sharing with: Thought Provoking Thursday
Imperfect Prose at Emily Wierenga’s place,
The etching shown up top: (Click the drawing to see a larger image.) This is the first in a series I’ve just added in a new home and heirloom accent section on my gallery page, pen & ink HOME PORTRAITS… Something in the attentive look of the dog to an unseen Master put Psalm 5:3 in my mind…and seems to go with this post.