Belief and the Violin

by Shane Wall

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7, KJV

I began the difficult but rewarding adventure of playing the violin in the seventh grade. One of the first explanations we were given by our teacher, Mr. Kenneth Jackson, was that the violin was among the most difficult instruments to learn because it provided no cue to the performer for playing the correct note.

Pianos have keys. Trumpets have valves. Drum sets have skins, symbols, and other pre-­tuned parts, but the violin has no such attachments to aid in producing precise musical notes. The violinist has to believe that when he places his finger on a certain spot on the string, pressing it firmly on the fingerboard, that the correct note will be the result.

The teacher told the class that once we understood how to play the instrument, we would be an elite group of musicians because of our acquired skill, and he was right. As a teenager, I charged $20 per minute to play violin solos for certain events and had no problem being hired. Most of my clients wanted me to perform three-­minute pieces of music for their functions.

I admit that the process of understanding how to play the violin was extremely challenging. I had to believe my High School violin teacher, Mrs. Margaret Thomasson, when she told me that the notes I was playing were either too flat or too sharp. To top it all off, she had the God­-given gift of perfect pitch, the ability to hear any note and recognize it without requiring any other resource for confirmation.

We had to put full faith in our instructor's lessons as being truth, or else we would never have understood how to effectively play our beautiful­-sounding instruments. If we don't believe, we will never understand. For every single item that we want to understand, we have to believe the one who is giving the understanding, and of course, believe that the information being given is accurate.

Belief is crucial. Understanding can only be realized through belief. As citizens in the Kingdom of God (having received Jesus as Savior, Lord, and King, and faithfully serving), we obtain understanding by believing in God's Word.

Remembering that Scripture urges us to not lean to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), another facet of truth comes to light. Because our human minds are frail and clueless as to the future, leaning to our own understanding will prove to be inadequate when we're required to make important decisions. Having a firm foundation that we can draw on in difficult situations is vital to our making good choices for our lives and the lives of others.

The rough waves of circumstance are so intimidating at times that they cause us to doubt or even forget the understanding God has given to us. If we find that we have trouble seeing our lives the way God does, we need to perform a self­evaluation to analyze if we really did seek God sincerely in the first place. After all, during both calm and tumultuous times, we need to be able to recall and apply God's understanding at will.

One of the reasons we don't get God's understanding during a crisis is because of the huge value, trust, and dependence we've placed on our own thoughts. When we completely remove our own ideas concerning an ordeal, only then can we fully accept the understanding God gives.

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