Soulcousitcs: How to Hear God in the Dark Spaces

She grabs my Mama’s guitar from the music room and she sits cross-legged and bare-footed on Mama’s back porch in the first light and she plucks songs from the strings and the air and her heart.

Our small group sings.

Channels Only, Blessed Master…

The sun lays out in long, stretching rays through the maple tree in the soybean field off Mama’s back lawn. Annette strums, sways.

Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear
 to hear as those who are taught. ~Isa. 50:4

Four long haired lovelies, my quartet of nieces, they hear the pied piper playing and we see their faces in windows, their eyes still drowsing with dreams and we nod yes, wave come, and all four, still draped in nighties, they wander out to the music.





We draw them up into our laps, gather their long manes in our hands, lie their locks smooth over their shoulders and I can see their long bare necks now. How they rock to rhythm of praise.

And I think this, girls smiling, Annette picking her steel threads: We move to the music of emptiness.

That is what this is. The curves of a guitar holds emptiness, and in patient arms, emptiness can sing.

I watch how her fingers gracefully play up the long, slender neck. How she cradles the wood. How she embraces the void within it and listens to it.

The black space under the willing strings amplify sounds and a chamber of dark is a holy hollowness holding songs. This is profound. This is grace.

Scripture is the steel threads, holding the world together, and when we let the fingers pluck along these sacred strings, the lines of red letters, Christ plays in one thousand places and even our hollow emptiness is a beauty that reverberates with the refrain of Love.

Channels Only, Blessed Master… Annette’s hair falls over her shoulder. She leans into lyrics.

Channels are empty conduits, dark space. I tell myself how I must remember. That interior dark can be a gift. That emptiness can help me hear Him better. That when I feel the length of dark emptiness fall across all the interior, I must pluck out the notes of the Christ words, and listen.

That God speaks now and I can hear the clear voice of God anytime I open the Word of God and why don’t we do that more — daily, hourly — and we are as wise as well we listen and we are as happy as well as we hear and when time winds down and the scroll is rolled out and the Lamb is worshipped not because of His beauty but for His battle wounds, we will be healed of all our emptiness and we will hear the strains of the new song sung for Him who was slain and has bore all our suffering:

You are worthy…

Christ hears my emptiness. He longs to make music of it.

In the quiet after the hymn, one of the nieces slides off a lap and kneels down before the dark hole of the guitar. She looks up at Annette and Annette nods and little fingers strum strings.

I can hear the echo in emptiness.

In our dark we pray for exactly what wise Solomon asked for when God offered “What can I give you?”

Of all the world and all desires, Solomon asked for this one thing:

“… give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart…”
1 Kings 3:9

A God-hearing heartonly this.

A hearing heart that listens for His song ringing off the walls of the dark spaces.

So our fingers run along the lines of Scripture… listening.

Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart.To read the entire series of spiritual practices

Next Week: Consider sharing in community: The Spiritual Practice of Parenting. Over the next three weeks, let’s prayerfully consider what it means to prayerfully parentWe look forward to your creative voice, ideas, thoughts!

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Photos: Joshua plucking his strings here … and letting Shalom too.
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