I have been in Athens Greece for the past week. I came here to lead worship for a gathering of missionaries. It was a sweet time for them to be refreshed before they return to some hard places around the world.

If you look, I mean really look, illustrations of God’s hand are everywhere. God didn’t create the world randomly he created everything to reflect facets of His glory and ways. I think one of the problems I have is a lack of awareness. The pace of life moves so quickly I often let beautiful illustrations of God pass me by. It almost happened to me again this past week. In fact, I didn’t notice it until a day or two after it happened.

We were walking along a road near by the great Acropolis of Athens, and we found this guy playing a hang drum. I had no idea what it was, but it had a really unique sound. I loved it! As we got closer, the sound grabbed me. I was compelled enough to stop and flip out my camera to record the little video you see below. Later I started to look online for what type of instrument it was. That is when I discovered the name of the mysterious instrument; “hang drum.” I wanted one! My search continued as I tried to find a dealer who sold hang drums. My search left me sad because they were extremely expensive many were well over $1300. Why were they so expensive? The illustration suddenly jumped out at me.

IMG_2026Hang drums like kettle drums are hand hammered metal. A sheet of round metal is pounded into a bowl like shape. The notes are then meticulously measured out and drawn onto the bowl. Then they begin to hammer the into the shapes they drew. The builder of the instrument must have a wonderful ear because they tune it one hammer hit at a time. This process could take a week or two. They put a blow torch on the bent edges to temper the metal and make the notes more resonant. They then fine tune the pitch again. The completed drum could take hundreds of hours to perfect. I guess that explains the price.

On our flight home from Greece,  the illustration came alive. God is the master craftsman, and we are like the raw metal. Each time God takes a hammer and masterfully pounds into my life He has an aim, a resonant note that he is striving for. I don’t think the craftsman sees the bangs and bruises that I get along the way in quite the same way. I’m sure He has compassion for us in the midst of the process because scripture tells us that He does (Heb. 4:15). Even though he can sympathize with the pain of growth, He still sees the process differently then we do (Heb.5:8). Each hammer hit has purpose. Occasionally he uses a hot torch to temper us so that we resonate more.

Tuning an instrument is a finicky thing. The thing that makes music sound good is the combination of notes. The notes must be exactly the right distance apart from each other. If a note is not the right distance from the next it my ring loud and long but it will never sound good with other notes. When you tune an instrument you must constantly check to ensure that the distance between pitches is accurate. Music is an illustration of a balanced life. Our lives are a combination of many facets, and God is constantly helping us achieve better balance. If one area is hammered too far, it goes sharp and makes the whole instrument sound bad. If it is not hammered enough, it is flat and also sounds bad.

HangI think I could continue the illustration for ages, but you get the idea. Ultimately WE DON’T tune our hearts God does. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it.” We cannot tune ourselves. We have no point of reference to begin only the master musician can tune our hearts. Jeremiah goes on to say, “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind…”

So why are we learning about ways to help us tune our hearts? Although it is God who does the tuning we can place ourselves on his work bench. When we exercise the various disciplines that God has given us they are like the hammers and torches that tune us. Let us stay on the work bench until we resonate glorious praise to him.