Surprised by Joy

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Psalms 150:5-6)

My older son loves to play the drums. He’s played in a number of bands and contributed in a major way to their success. He plays loud and fast, and the louder and faster it is, the better for him. In performances, there would not be a dry spot left on his T-shirt when it was over. I say “success” meaning two of the bands recorded a CD and gained a small but avid following. It happened three times, that just when things were heating up, Christopher opted out. As the band got more and more serious and demanded more time and sacrifice of other things, Christopher lost interest. He was not after making a career out of drumming; he just did it for the joy of playing. In spite of the casual attitude, I marvel and how accomplished he has become.

What I didn’t know was how good he was becoming in all styles of music. When he’s not playing in a band, he gets his drum “fix” playing on his electronic set with earphones tuned to any kind of song he wants. That’s how he’s learned to play along with the best.

Since getting married, buying a house and pursuing his career, his drums have been put on the back burner. But his electronic set is in his garage and occasionally he will pound on them to his heart’s content. Not long ago, we got to hear him play once again in the worship band of a humble little community church in town.

His wife, Elizabeth, said that in the last few days he’s been drumming all over the house, on tables, chairs, the floor, the bed and the sofa, trying to get his chops back. And it all paid off, surprisingly, in church.

Have you ever tried to sing and cry at the same time? You can’t do it. So for the first two songs I just stood there and took it in. Something welled up inside that prevented me from making a sound. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. I wasn’t prepared for this. I was prepared to see my son drum; I wasn’t prepared to be led by him into worship. I wasn’t prepared to hear angels sing and heavenly choirs exalt.

A few things to get from this today:

1. Learn from the masters.
2. Do what you do for the joy of doing it.
3. Practice anywhere and everywhere you can.
4. Do everything to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Actually, when you think about it, he was always playing to the glory of God; it’s just that this time I noticed.

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8 Responses to Surprised by Joy

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    I never knew Christopher could play the drums so well. I remember what you wrote in the Chapter, “The Glory of Fools” from “True Believers Ask Why” I just re-read that Chapter. That time you made him cry so he had to return the favor! Yes, I guess he has always been playing to the Glory of God just as you have been writing that way for over 30 years. Thank You.

  2. Sandra Campbell says:

    This really speaks to me!! My oldest daughter, Angie, taught herself drums at the age of 16 and played in several worship teams at different churches. Jenny, the youngest daughter, that I share a house with along with 4 of my 5 grandkids sings and led worship at the church we were at before she was divorced. She now sings on the worship team at the church we go to. I haven’t seen Angie play for quite a while since we live in different states but there were times that I’d just be in tears, watching her play and knowing God gave her that gift!! Jenny sometimes leads songs and the same thing happens with her! Their gifts are gifts of love and it just touches me to know how much they’re loved by God!! I know my heart is filled with such joy and I’m so thankful!!

  3. TonI Petrella says:

    Don’t know much about the drums but, always had an appreciation for anyone who played them well. Someone like Christopher who plays to the glory of God well, doesn’t get any better or more sincere than that at anytime. Take care, and God bless now and forever.

  4. Peter Leenheer says:

    “Actually he was always playing to the glory of God: it was just that this time I noticed.”
    I seems to me that many of us filter information through ourselves first and relate it to us to a point where you might say it is about me, while actually it is about the person we are observing. I think it is high time for me to listen and observe my children and ask them questions about them and their lives. So that I may notice some things about them I never saw before because I was too self absorbed.

  5. Mark D Seguin says:

    To answer this question: “Have you ever tried to sing and cry at the same time? ” Yes, I have, @ the Church of St. Anne’s in Jerusalem in Israel as I visited the Holy Lands w/ a Church group, this was the first place / Church we stopped to visit and we sang “In the Garden” I think I got out a few words of it and the Spirit of God had touched my heart, I was just in Awe where I was – all I could do was cry, SURELY couldn’t sing, LOL 🙂 so can emphases w/ you Pastor John…

  6. Peter Leenheer says:

    You are right brother Mark, the emotion chokes me so I can’t even think. That is why funerals are so hard for me.

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