Ed, my neighbor next door, just shook his head when I told him I was going to buy an electric violin. “It seems to me, you have done enough ear damage with your old violin. Amplifying the sound would only be hazardous to everyone’s hearing, that is, if anyone should be unlucky enough to hear you,” Ed informed me with total bluntness. Of course, Ed wanted to know how much an electric violin would cost me.
I asked Ed if he wanted to know the cost because he would pay me the price of the violin to keep me from buying it. “Not on your life,” Ed responded. “Winter is coming and you’ll be practicing in your basement where I can’t hear you anyway, and by next summer you’ll have lost interest or driven yourself crazy. A new instrument can’t make up for your lack of talent,” Ed added.
Ed makes a very valid point in that I do lack natural talent when it comes to playing the violin, electric or not. How much can practice erase my lack of musical talent? I have taken years of violin lessons and I still sound like a brand new beginner. Perhaps I shouldn’t take up my old hobby of trying to play the violin, because the electric violin could make my playing sound worse instead of better.
Ed believes that shoveling driveways for pay would be a better hobby for me this winter. I find this a little strange, as he himself never shovels. He always uses his snow blower. Time will tell if the new electric violin becomes a reality, but for sure, I’m passing on the hobby of shoveling driveways this winter. If I decide to play an electric violin, do I have the determination to keep at it? It doesn’t matter what Ed my neighbor thinks. What matters most is my own determination about the hobby I choose.
In the Bible, Job had great wealth and a large family. Then, the both of them were destroyed. He also went from healthy to sick and suffering without any hint of relief. Job didn’t have the luxury of a hobby, but spent his time in the ashes trying to manage his endless pain by scraping with a piece of broken pottery the painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
There was no answer to why Job was suffering in so many terrible ways. Job was determined he would not blame God for all the loss and suffering he was facing. His wife saw him as cursed by God and demanded that Job curse God and die. His three friends were sure Job must be guilty of some sin and that he needed to confess his sin before God so that God might perhaps forgive him and heal him. Job was determined to be patient before God. He would not blame God for his pain. He also would not try to bargain with God to find a way out of his suffering. He placed himself at the mercy of God not knowing how it might turn out. His determination held until God healed and restored him. It is always about God’s mercy and our determination to wait for it to heal and restore us.