“There are sometimes spaces in our lives that seem empty and silent. Things grind to a halt for one reason or another. Not long ago, the ‘music’ in my life seemed to stop because of a rejection, a loss, and what seemed to me at the time a monumental failure.
I was feeling rather desolate when I came across a paragraph written more than a hundred years ago by the artist John Ruskin:
There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody, the music is broken off here and there by ‘rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of time. God sends a time of forced leisure– sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts– and makes us a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the rest? See him beat time with unvarying count and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the time and not be dismayed at the ‘rests.’ They are not to be slurred over, nor to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. In the end we will see that in order to have a complete song, we must have the ‘rests’ in between the notes. If we look up, God Himself will beat time for us. With the eye on Him we shall strike the next note full and clear.
So the Lord brought to me precisely the word I needed at the moment: There was ‘the making of music’ in what seemed a hollow emptiness.
It’s His song, not mine, that I’m here to sing. It’s His will, not mine, that I’m here to do. Let me focus my vision unwaveringly on Him who alone knows the complete score, ‘and in the night His song shall be with me,’ (Psalm 42:8).”
–Elisabeth Elliot, Secure in the Everlasting Arms (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2002), 161-162.