“The Hand of God”
The last major event every year at Lifest is Sunday morning worship. Bob Lenz, the founder of Life Promotions which puts on Lifest, gives a stirring message. There is usually another speaker or two, and always lots of music. Music to sing to. Sure, they are all Christian songs, but not necessarily the ones our parents and grandparents sang to in church.
Along with the rest of my generation, I was raised on rock and roll. The ballads of Bread, America and Don McLean. Tear jerkers like Seasons in the Sun and the Blind Man in the Bleachers. Saturday nights, when the weather was right, way up in northern Wisconsin, my sister and I could pick up WLS out of Chicago on our AM radio. Even though we usually listened to WIFC, we thought that by hearing music coming out of Chicago, we were somehow on the cutting edge. And we sang to everything we could. It might be 20 years ago that I heard some of those songs, but I still remember all the lyrics.
On Sunday mornings, though, when I couldn’t listen to the radio because I had to go to church, I would sing along with Dad. On a lot of the old hymns, he would sing harmony, which would drive Mom nuts. She would give him dirty looks and he would just give her his half smile and shrug.
Unlike my dad, I never could sing worth a darn. But somewhere along the line, I decided that if I just sang loud, well, then the people around me would just have to sing louder to drown me out.
And that’s how it was at Lifest. I would sing along to most of the songs as if I was Whitney Houston, my voice cracking on the high notes and being off key the rest of the time. And even better was that it didn’t matter if I knew the words or not, because they had them up on the JumboTron.
On this particular Sunday, in the already warm morning sun, I was alone in the crowd, singing quietly for a change. But unlike the many strangers around me, their arms raised in praise over their heads, their faces turned skyward, I was looking down. My head shaking slightly from side to side, my eyes closed, I felt so inadequate. God has given me so much in my life, and what had I ever given back? What had I ever done in my life to make me worthy of so much as a passing gesture from the Almighty?
Then, suddenly, there were fingers under my chin, a warm strong hand turning my head heavenward. A voice saying plainly, “Look at me, let me see your beautiful face, my precious child.”
A chill ran down my spine (and still goes down my spine just thinking about this). I opened my eyes, looking all around and then finally upward. I couldn’t see anyone there, but that didn’t mean that no one was there.
I’ve only told a few people about this incident. You may think I am crazy. But I know that the hand of God reached down and touched me that day. His voice spoke to me, reminding me how much He loves me.
I don’t have to do anything to pay God back for all he has given me. There is no way I could ever even come close. But if I could go to a third world country and help those stricken by poverty, God would smile on me again.