Sucker For a Good Guitar

I’m a sucker for a good guitar. I can’t help it. It’s like I’m hard wired for it or something.

Guitar

Ask my wife. There’s a special, MJ-only enclave in my house, filled with my stringed-favorites. I know each one and have taken great care to make sure they stay just the way I want them: polished and ready to play.

The first guitar I ever bought is there. It’s an old Takamine Santa Fe that wears the loving abrasions of years of play. The action has been sanded to absolute perfection and anyone who picks it up can tell that this little gem is worth hanging onto.  There’s a couple Taylor acoustics in there too. One is old and warm. The other is snazzy and tricked out. Both are models of careful craftsmanship any guitar picker would be proud to own.

GibsonHeadstockThere are friends from Fender and amplifier acquaintances from Vox and Orange. But encased behind bullet-proof hard cases sit two of my favorite people. A Gibson Les Paul Supreme is beautifully finished in a rich mahogany and inlaid with scrollwork on the neck. Next to him is a stocky, unpretentious vintage Telecaster that’s as old as I am. Both have a character all their own. Each had a particular purpose when they were made. Each holds a special place in the eye of their owner.

Several months ago, when God really began to stir a new song in me, I sensed Him drawing me to a new platform—one I’d never considered climbing onto—right in the center of the city. God began to work in the hearts of others around me too, calling them to a new sort of symphony. Like the guitars in my cabinet, we have each been handcrafted by our Creator for a particular purpose. Nobody looks the same; our unique qualities make us all different. But at the center of each person in the plan is the careful craftsmanship of the Sovereign Creative. He has meticulously made sure that each instrument stays just as He wants us: polished and ready to play.

Don’t know what kind of model you are. Maybe you’re snazzy and tricked out; maybe you’re old and warm and wear the loving abrasions of years of play. No matter what kind of package you come in, remember something very important.

Remember your Owner is a sucker for a good guitar. He can’t help it. You occupy a special place in His heart. He has set you apart. And you’re just the sort of gem He is committed to holding on to.

Don’t be afraid to place your life into His capable, masterful hands. He knows how to get the best music out of you. And no matter what stage He leads you toward, know that He has already composed a beautiful, musical masterpiece for you to play. Follow His lead with radical abandon. What you’ll hear along the way is the uproarious applause of Heaven itself. And that is the sensational sound you can find nowhere else in all the world.

Look to Dad

I walked up a long flight of stairs this morning. It took me a while to make it to the top, but I enjoyed every step. Because, you see, this morning I held hands with one of my favorite people all the way: Addison Grace.

Look_to_Dad

At age nine, Addie is my oldest daughter. She’s a little under four feet tall, but her personality’s as big as all out doors. She loves reading and tether ball and anything silly. She never meets a stranger and has a heart softer than any I’ve ever known. Addison was born with Down Syndrome and without equivocation, she’s the apple of her daddy’s eye.

This morning, I marched next to my little soldier into a challenging environment. A couple weeks ago we moved to a new house in the center of San Diego. We enrolled the kids in a new school too—one right down the street. But leaving the comfort and security of our previous place brought lots of additional challenges to the little ones. And Addie has struggled the most.

Different can be difficult, can’t it? Being the new blonde in the barrio is no walk in the park either. And Addie has wrestled this new transition in her own forty-five inch way. Dad was along this day to observe her new classroom, her new teacher, her new aid and her new friends. He was marching alongside to survey the land and underscore the truth that “Dad has your back!”

I watched as my diminutive darling jumped into her work, pushing her little glasses back on to her nose over and over. Biting her lip to scrawl out her spelling words, she would turn toward me after each one to see if I was still watching.

“I did it, Dad!” she would say. “You’re doing great, babe,” I would reply. And the entire time, I never missed a thing. I was standing just close enough to show my smile, a thumbs-up of encouragement and a wink of warmth as I watched in rapt attention.

Addie was working with her aide most of the morning. Between you and me, I’m not sure this lady’s going to work out. She’s gruff and preoccupied. She’s disinterested in Addie and Addie can tell. She exudes an attitude of distain and this dad takes a dim view of it. Within five minutes, the aide seemed as though she had somewhere more important to be. And Dad never missed a thing.

But over and over, as my daughter completed each direction, she would glance toward her dad for approval. And over and over, Dad delivered. Addie looked to her dad for support because she was sure—no matter how unpredictable her surroundings—that you can bet the rent money on Dad. Even if a soft look from others might be rare, she knows Dad loves and never stops loving.

A simple smile from Dad was enough for Addie today. All she really needs in all this world is the knowledge that her father waits in rapt attention of her every need. She can sigh in relief, in spite of the chaos all around her, because she knows Dad has her back.

It struck me, as I stood over that little desk this morning: I’m exactly the same way. Sometimes life throws enormous challenges into my path. Transitions are often very tough. And different can be difficult.

But no matter what my day holds, I have a Father prepared to patiently walk up the long flight of stairs with me. He marches beside me into the fray. And He is unafraid.

You may face disappointment or disdain, but your Dad takes a dim view of it in your defense. Glance toward the warmth of Who He is. He stands close to you, waiting in rapt attention of your need. And He never misses a thing. His faithfulness never subsides.

Life has thrown Addie some challenges. But the same dad that walked her up Stair Mountain this morning, walked her right back down in due time. Your Dad will do the same for you if you’ll only grab His hand.

Did you catch that wink? No matter what, you can be confident of this: Dad loves and He never stops loving. That is an enduring, eternal, unalterable fact. And you can bet the rent money on it.