Perfect Harmony

It is not common practice for me to write book reviews. While I have written a few academically I have never written one outside the purview of academic scrutiny. Still, I must put forth some insight concerning the work of Mark and Rebecca Johnston called The Last Breakup.

Pianos are very sophisticated instruments. They can be played in any key with any genre of music. A skilled pianist has the ability to make the instrument talk or hum, whatever his desire. This is despite the fact of the opposing black and white keys. The keys represent not only different notes but also different octaves. Played wrongly, the piano can sound like a wild cat screeching in the night. Yet, skillfully played the piano keys work in perfect harmony. This is also the case with marriage – rightly played marriage is the most beautiful relationship on earth. Wrongfully played the diametrically opposed keys are sufficient to cause severe pain.

Mark and Rebecca have chosen to share the pain of their marriage in this eye-catching work. It is not a book of marital counseling. It is a work that shows the emotional ups and downs of a marriage doomed to destruction because it was being played without regard to the wisdom of one who knows well the skill it takes to rightly play a marriage. The emotional roller coaster not only nearly caused the breakup of a marriage but could have destroyed not only those in the marriage but also those closely linked to the marriage.

But then, because of the brokenness of Mark and Rebecca there came unexpected players in the picture. While the emotive aspects of a badly played marriage sought to destroy what God joined together the unexpected inevitable master of teaching became paramount in the lives of those knowing nowhere else to turn. But for the grace of God, the last breakup would not be permanent.  Instead, it would be the impetus for planting the foundation for a lovely union.

As you read The last Breakup turn off the TV and get in a quiet place. The transparency and vulnerability are refreshing as Mark and Rebecca reflect on their last breakup and what caused healing in the face of brokenness.

The Last Breakup

There is Hope

 

     When looking around the country today there is no wonder that many Christians seem to be in despair. Last year in Chicago at least five hundred people were murdered. Every day in this nation untold numbers of people are aborted before they even have a chance at life. Wrong has become right and right has become wrong. The sacred institution of marriage has now been stigmatized by reason of same-sex unions. Worshippers of God are told that they are not allowed to speak in certain public areas while Muslims are given an open mike in any desired venue. Yes, things seem bleak for the Christian but there is hope.

     The prophet Jeremiah also lived in times that seemed hopeless. He preached and people did not heed his warnings. Still he would not relent on being God’s mouthpiece. Even when Jeremiah became discouraged and decided that he would no longer preach God’s Word he found that being still and being quiet was not an option. The Word of God was so embedded in him that it was impossible for Jeremiah to hold his peace. The Word of God was like fire shut up in Jeremiah’s bones (Jeremiah 20:9). He could not ignore that which was in him and so Jeremiah continued in preaching despite the negative reaction or inaction of his audience.

     Like Jeremiah we live in an evil day. Politicians pretend to care for the disadvantaged while they continue to raise taxes on the nation. In less than four years this country has seen the loss of about five million jobs even while some politicians tout the success of economic policies that have increased welfare rolls, food stamp recipients, the loss of the country’s triple “A” rating and a national deficit quickly closing in on seventeen trillion dollars – seven trillion of which are a result of the financial policies of the past few years. Yet the concern is over whether or not females should receive free contraception when all they need to do is go to the local drug store to buy whatever they desire. Even more perhaps the best contraception is abstinence for those who are not married. But that is a side note. Our country is in a state of spiritual decadents much like in the time of Jeremiah but realize that all hope is not lost.

     As Jeremiah lamented the trouble of the day in which he lived he was able find hope with these words in Jeremiah 17:17: “Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.” Now, this word “hope” falls from normal thinking as to what hope normally is. This word is like unto shelter or refuge. It suggests protection from those things that would seek to harm were it not for the Protector. Jeremiah looked to God as his Hope in that God protected him and gave him shelter in the face of spiritual and perhaps physical opposition. The people would neither hear his warnings nor heed the utterances of the man of God. Yet Jeremiah rested in the hope presented by the only One that could protect him from the oppressiveness of a godless people.

     The fact of the matter is that the Christian is not promised an easy life but that he is guaranteed protection in the face of those that seek to harm him. This idea is validated in Isaiah 59:19 where God promises “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” The hope is in the standard because the standard is protection directly from God. More specifically this “standard” is indicative of a wind that will cause the enemy to flee. And while there is more to this term, for instance God standing between the enemy and the godly, the very fact that God works on behalf of the faithful indicates that there is hope for the Christian.

     Be not dismayed. Be not afraid. There is hope. The winds of immorality and disarray serve only to strengthen the resolve of God’s people. Don’t worry about the name calling and teasing. The lies and misrepresentations are part of the flood. But consider the flood that Moses passed through when leaving Egypt. The flood seemed insurmountable yet with hope in the Omnipotent One all Israel safely crossed the sea. Moreover God stepped between the Israelites and the Egyptians giving God’s people hope.

 

     Not all is lost. If we simply stand fast on the Word of God and trust that His Word is true then we have hope. Our hope is that God will provide us refuge in the presence of our enemies. Not only that God will vindicate us by reason of the truth. Now, all does seem dismal but remember that “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed”. Yes, there is hope.