Nicolo Paganini, (1782-1840), ranks as one of the greatest violinists of all time. One night while playing a difficult piece of music a string on his violin snapped and hung down from his violin. Surrounded by the orchestra he continued to play. Then a second string broke. Still, this clever musician improvised and continued playing. A third string snapped forever worthless. Undaunted, Paganini played magnificently on the one remaining string before a stunned crowd. When he finished they jumped to their feet screaming and cheering “Bravo! Bravo!” Paganini waited until the noise abated then as everyone sat back down he raised his violin high for everyone to see. The violinist nodded to the conductor to begin the encore. He placed the single-stringed Stradivarius beneath his chin and played one final piece. Can you imagine the buzz of that crowd as they returned home from that concert?!
Acts 27:34--Therefore I urge you to take some food. For this has to do with your survival, since none of you will lose a hair from your head.
Those were the words of Paul on a ship so storm-tossed that he and all aboard went without food for 14 days while fighting to survive. Instead of giving up in exhaustion he took bread, thanked God in front of them all, ate and encouraged them to do the same. In the middle of the tempest where curses normally take center plank, he opted for thanksgiving. The next day the centurion spared Paul and the other prisoners from a soldier’s plot to kill them. Their ship ran aground forcing everyone to swim for shore. As if all this wasn’t enough, a viper bit the shivering hand of Paul as he picked up brushwood for a fire. The islanders concluded his luck was so bad that he must be a murderer! Yet when nothing happened to him they said he was a god. Quitting was not part of Paul’s vocabulary. God blessed his faith and preserved his life.
When the strings on your violin snap do you quit playing? The easy choice is to stop and blame the string-makers for a weak product or walk away in frustration before sympathetic onlookers. It’s far easier to bemoan what can’t be done than to make the most of the least. It is the rare person who presses on courageous in the face of deprivation and adversity. But wait a minute, Jesus calls us to be rare!
When circumstances don’t go as you hoped, do you die inside? Quitting is the natural outcome of fear, fatigue and insecurity. So don’t go there! You worship the Winner. It’s not too late to climb up the rigging with your one-stringed violin and shout above the thunder, “I am a conqueror through Jesus who loves me! Death or life, angels or demons, present or future, mountain crag or bog and anything else created—nothing can stand between God’s love and me provided by my Lord Jesus Christ!”* Go ahead, what are you waiting for—start shouting! And play that string—for God’s glory!
Beware of laying off before God tells you to; if you lay off before God tells you to, you will rust, and that leads to “dry rot” always.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Psychology
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)