Posted by: Kara Luker | January 10, 2020

We are the instruments

Hi all! It’s been a while. Hope you had a sweet Christmas and New Year with so much grace for the season. As I shared, there was a chunk of time that was pretty emotional for me, but it ended up being overshadowed by the rich time we had as a family, especially with Madison coming home from college to play. We took Chase ice skating for the first time, which proved successful thanks to the help of a seal named Max. We went to the kids’ rock climbing gym, where Madison and I joined Chase in the fun while looking oddly large in a sea of small people. We went to the San Diego Zoo, where we were smitten with the baboons, of all creatures. My heart was full.







With a few blog post ideas rolling around in my head during the break, I couldn’t wait to get back to writing. But when the holiday bustle gave way to regular routine, I found myself wanting to garden and research puppies and go to Marshall’s instead. The few times I did sit down to write, the words on the page just wouldn’t take shape. I’m pretty sure this is at least partly due to the unwelcome appearance of some old self-loathing that seemed to come out of nowhere, derailing my best intentions. 

This morning, I had a great conversation with my mom and got some much-appreciated prayer (thanks, mom!). Something she said stole my heart and made a deep imprint on my mind. It was this: “You are trying to find an instrument to play, but you are the instrument and God is the one making music.” You guys, this is exactly it. The self-loathing I experience often has to do with failing to perform as I’d like to. The people around me seem to perform with beauty and grace, while my efforts produce off-pitch squeals that only draw attention to my inability.

But what if it’s not about finding an instrument – some area of life where I can excel – and learning to perform it really well so I can join the symphony of life, community and service? What if it is about being undone through surrender – of who I would like to be, how I would like others to see me, what song I’d like to play – so that I am an instrument totally yielded to the masterful hands of my Lord who can, through my life, produce notes of the sweetest, deepest resonance that ring in perfect unity with all the others He’s drawn to Himself?

Because we are His, we already belong in the orchestra. We are not disqualified and never were. Where we have run into problems is our insistence to play our own song; to consider our music to be what we can create in our own ability. We compare our performance to others; maybe trying to sound louder to be heard or cooler to fit in or fancier to impress. All we then produce, no matter how well executed, is a cacophony of a billion competing pieces playing simultaneously.

That is, until we yield our roles as composers and performers and become unique instruments in a heavenly orchestra, breathing out each note with heart and passion in perfect harmony with millions of other instruments, all playing His song. It is a song that began before creation, and one that will go on for the rest of eternity. Its beauty will change hearts and transform lives. And we belong here, right in the middle of this music; allowing the notes of His story to shine through our lives. This, my friends, is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I hope you are encouraged too.



  1. Wonderful. It reminded me of the quote, “I’ve spent my whole life stringing and unstringing my instrument and never sang the song I came to sing.” I can’t remember who said it.

    On Fri, Jan 10, 2020 at 4:50 PM where waves grow sweet wrote:

    > karanoel posted: “Hi all! It’s been a while. Hope you had a sweet > Christmas and New Year with so much grace for the season. As I shared, > there was a chunk of time that was pretty emotional for me, but it ended up > being overshadowed by the rich time we had as a family, espe” >

    • Yes! I remember that quote well!

  2. Made me think of the Myra Brooks Welch poem, Kara 🙂 :

    ‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
    Thought it scarcely worth his while
    To waste much time on the old violin,
    But held it up with a smile.
    ‘What am I bidden, good folks,’ he cried,
    ‘Who’ll start the bidding for me?’
    ‘A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
    Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?’

    ‘Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
    Going for three…’ But no,
    From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
    Came forward and picked up the bow;
    Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
    And tightening the loosened strings,
    He played a melody pure and sweet,
    As a caroling angel sings.

    The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
    With a voice that was quiet and low,
    Said: ‘What am I bid for the old violin?’
    And he held it up with the bow.
    ‘A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
    Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
    Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
    And going and gone,’ said he.

    The people cheered, but some of them cried,
    ‘We do not quite understand.
    What changed its worth?’ Swift came the reply:
    ‘The touch of the Master’s hand.’
    And many a man with life out of tune,
    And battered and scarred with sin,
    Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
    Much like the old violin.

    A ‘mess of pottage,’ a glass of wine,
    A game — and he travels on.
    He is ‘going’ once, and ‘going’ twice,
    He’s ‘going’ and almost ‘gone.’
    But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
    Never can quite understand
    The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
    By the touch of the Master’s hand.

    Myra Brooks Welch

    • Hal, I have never heard that poem before but what a powerful and true picture it paints. Thank you so very much for sharing it!

  3. Great word Kara!

    • Thank you Tony!

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