Several big storms have been going through the central and eastern parts of the United States lately. Here in Detroit, weather forecasts of heavy snow throughout the night and into the following morning have even caused school to be canceled in many districts.
One Thursday morning our daughter called to ask if we could take care of the boys that night and then Friday until noon. She was pretty sure that school was going to be canceled on Friday, but hadn’t received the official announcement and was trying plan ahead, just in case.
The weatherman turned out to be right. Her two boys, an 8-year old and a 6-year old arrived at our house on Thursday evening with their pillows, a suitcase, stuffed animals, books and two kitchen trash bags full of their snow gear. They could have stayed a week! Since there was no school the following day, they got to stay up later than usual. But, when it was time for bed, they fell into a deep sleep.
It snowed all night and continued the next morning. After letting the dogs out to romp around in the fresh powder and feeding them, I tiptoed around the house hoping to have a few minutes to sit down with my Bible and read some of the Psalms. Before long, however, Nate, 8, came out and joined the dogs and me in the living room.
He decided to listen to music on our very old boom box, however, since I objected to the radio station with some loud rap music, he looked through our collection of tapes and stuck one in the tape deck of the boom box. “A surprise,” he said. Then he sat next to me on the couch as I tried to concentrate on Psalm 100. “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.”
Suddenly that verse came alive as the strains of a very familiar tune came from the boom box…the deep resonant voice of Herschel Bernardi singing the songs from “Fiddler on the Roof!” Nate put his head on my lap as I closed the Bible and listened to the soundtrack from the wonderful musical about a Jewish family living in Anatevka, Russia during the early 1900’s. Bernardi sang the part of Tevye, a dairyman struggling to raise his five daughters during a tumultuous time of change.
First came “Tradition,” then “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” followed by “If I were a Rich Man,” which gave us both a chuckle. But the next song, “The Sabbath Prayer,” brought tears to my eyes. It was a sweet, heartfelt prayer of the father for his three eldest girls who were of marriageable age.
Spontaneously, I put my hand on Nate’s head and sang that prayer for him, echoing Tevye’s words and changing some to fit the occasion. “...May the Lord protect and defend you. May the Lord preserve you from pain. Favor him O Lord with happiness and peace. O hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen.” It was a beautiful moment, a sacred moment and the Lord seemed very near indeed.
We had time for a couple more songs, including the nostalgic words of “Sunrise, Sunset” before breakfast. All of the emotions of life, a deep faith in spite of unanswered questions and the unconditional love of a devoted father were expressed by Tevye, while in the background, the ever present fiddler on the roof played his unending melancholic tune.
Greater than Tevye’s or any parent’s love is our Heavenly Father’s love for His children. He is with us in our times of happiness and also in times of pain, and through the changes of life—the good ones as well as those that are difficult. God hears our questions and our prayers. His love is unfailing! If your heart is filled with the longing to be loved as well as to love, stop your search and look to Him. He loves you!
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” — Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” — 1John 3:1a NIV
Judy Lowery lives in Michigan. The Good News column appears regularly in The Porterville Recorder. You can read more at Judy’s blog, goodnewswithjudy.blogspot.com.