Dad’s Zenith
Tuning Through Troubles
I enjoy listening to broadcast radio when I drive: listening to a CD, I always know what song is next. On the radio, every song is a surprise. Living in a canyon, however, FM radio reception is dicey near our home. Every evening, I switch from my preferred FM station to an AM news station as I descend the grade into the canyon. When I leave in the morning, I listen to the news until I’ve climbed the hill leading into town, then switch over to the FM channel.
One night not long ago, I returned from an evening meeting, driving through sheetlike rain and gusting winds. As I dropped into the canyon, music gave way to static. But the road conditions were challenging; I did not want to take a hand off the wheel even for an instant. So I gritted my teeth and drove home through the rain, static blaring forth from my truck’s speakers. The racket made me miserable.
Then as I turned off the main road through our canyon onto the side street that would lead me home, I heard music again. “Hmm,” I thought. “Four years in this house and I never knew that when I get close enough to home, the reception comes back.” I happily hummed along for the final few minutes of my drive.
I’ve been thinking about static, and music, and troubles. I don’t like static. It irritates me to hear it. So I turn off the radio or tune to another station that comes in clearly, even if it isn’t what I most want to hear. I learned the other night that if I can tolerate the irritation for a while, the music returns, as sweet as it was before–but perhaps better appreciated after an interlude of static.   
Troubles work the same way. I can “turn off the radio” by disengaging from a challenging situation. I can tune in to something else, something trivial and easy, ignoring a problem. Or I can carry on through the static, trusting in God that from the din of challenges, something beautiful will emerge, in His time and for His glory.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

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