I happen to love music. So when someone offered me tickets to a musical event of exactly the sort I most enjoy, I jumped at the chance. I was thrilled.
Then, less than a week later, someone else gave me tickets to hear another performance of the same flavor. And a few days later, I was again given a pair of tickets. Seven times in less than two months, from completely different sources, complimentary music tickets specific to my tastes just kept showing up in my life.
Difficulties in my life had sent me scurrying prayer-ward. Any solution I tried went nowhere. Every effort to change things failed.
I had been reading the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy. I was studying what she had to say about music and light and harmony from her own study of Scripture. She wrote: "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!' Said Job: 'The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me' " (pages 410-411).
Fear? Had I been subconsciously holding fears that had brought me to this situation? Very subconsciously, if that was the case, as I couldn't recognize any such thought. The simple "keynote of harmony" instruction to let go of fear was most helpful, but how to let go of fear while my concerns remained unsolved? I had to learn to trust the living God, moment by moment, day by day. And that's where the music came in.
There was something about the music that allowed me to pray a little more easily. Listening for the harmonies and patterns of music, I could also find the ability to trust that larger patterns and harmonies were present in my own situation. As dissonances were resolved in the music, I could see how the discords of my life might also have a sweet resolution. In listening to the music, somehow I felt that I was also being listened to. My protests were heard, and more, my unspoken hopes were heard.
There was no explanation, save the prayer, for why those tickets were given to me from so many sources except to make the point, straight from heaven it seems, "I know who you are." Meaning by that, the power, the intelligence, the purpose, the fulfillment, the joy - all the things I knew in my heart that life includes - were still intact. I must add that I still retorted back, "Great. If You know who I am, then please straighten out this mess!"
During this time, two statements from the Bible were helpful. The first was Jesus' words "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). Far from being fatalistic or resigned, they are powerhouse words. Jesus knew that his entire strength and the solution to every problem that confronted him were in proportion to his recognition of his relationship with the Father of all creation, even God.
As such, his life carried the full promise of Christ. He knew that he had no power but the power of the Almighty. He had no ego-pride, no agenda but the will of God. He healed as no one had ever seen healing. Adversities became victories. I longed to bring more of that sort of victory to my own life.
The other statement was from the Apostle Paul. He had experienced Christ firsthand and was undaunted in his mission to make sure the whole world had opportunity to know what he saw as well. Talking by letter to the people at a newly formed church at Philippi, Greece, he said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). What did he mean by that?
It would seem that in order to feel the power of Paul's words "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," I needed to yield to the demand of Jesus' own testimony, "I can of mine own self do nothing." No pulling myself up by my own bootstraps, so to speak, and no fatalistic resignation either. I had to consistently reduce prayer to that most uncomplicated level, "Please help."
The difficulties I was facing indeed straightened out a few months later, in ways that I did not and could not have planned. Obviously it's important that the particulars of the situation were resolved. But I find it interesting that the sweet, unspoken message in the coincidence of those music tickets still lingers with more meaning every day, "I know who you are."