A few years back a baby grand piano showed up at a local thrift shop. One of the generous couples in our church with huge hearts offered to buy and donate it to the congregation for use in our worship services. We were all very excited and thankful for this great opportunity.

As is the case with most pianos, it was housed in a beautiful wooden exterior that showed few signs of its age. I and some other pianists from our church went by the store to play it and check its tone and condition. Other than needing a good tuning, it sounded grand!

The deal was struck, the piano was purchased and donated, and it was moved onto the worship platform at our church. A piano tuner came and whipped it into shape in short order. He did inform us, however, that the soundboard within the piano appeared cracked and he wasn’t sure that his tuning would hold very long.

Excited by the opportunity to play such a beautiful instrument, our pianists enjoyed this privilege and poured out their musical gifts on its keys. All in the congregation were grateful for this enhancement to our worship of almighty God.

Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the piano had lost its tune and even worse, had a bit of an undesirable vibration. The tuner returned to attempt to remedy the situation but arrived at the same diagnosis of a cracked soundboard.

After a few more attempts to correct the issue, it eventually became apparent that the amazing gift could not be salvaged except at great expense. With sadness and sorrow, it was moved from the platform to the fellowship hall where it saw occasional use for other events and the old faithful upright Yamaha was hoisted back up to its previous location.

As I’ve reflected on this event, I continue to be grateful for the anonymous couple who graciously shared their heart and this gift with our congregation and for those who endeavored to repair it. I also continue to regret that I did not perceive this flaw until it was too late.

But I’ve also seen a similarity between that piano and us. On the outside, we may seem to have it all together. We may be beautiful to others either in appearance, occupation, influence, spirituality, or whatever. But inside, all our souls are cracked, broken when Adam dropped our piano in the Garden of Eden and permanently disqualified us from God’s service. Every note we sound is contaminated by his sin and ours.

We may attempt to tune ourselves with the best counselors or the latest self-help books. We may do penance or multiply good deeds in unsuccessful attempts to produce something harmonious. Unfortunately, it’s all of no use.

It’s of no use, that is, until the master repairs us. God himself, the one who designed and created us, is also able to repair and restore us. He’s able to mend our cracked souls and empower us to produce beautiful music. In this process he heals us on the deepest level and saves us from the landfill of eternal hell. He adds us to his grand orchestra of the church to begin harmonizing with others and resonating his love to the world around us.

The cost of this repair work, however, is even greater than that of any piano. For instead of Elmer’s Wood Glue or some other miracle adhesive, he uses the blood of his only son to heal our brokenness and restore us to pristine condition. The most amazing realization is that this price is not too high for him. He never once considered trashing or abandoning us but in his great love, Hh spared no expense for our total redemption.

If the soundboard of your soul hasn’t been healed by the master craftsman, don’t wait another minute to invite him to begin. For unlike a lifeless piano, we humans must choose to allow him to do his work within us. And if he has healed you, be sure to thank and worship him for it and use your wholeness to produce beautiful music for his honor and glory.

Forever grateful, George.

George Bowers is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored 11 books including his latest devotional, "Blessings, Volume II," which is a collection of these articles. It is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.

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