Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sparrow at Starbucks

As you know by now, I usually just write my own stuff and I don't think it is too cool to do post that are forwarded emails, but I have to break my policy and send the following along to you.  Most everyone that reads this blog knows our hearts are full of sadness and are looking to God for answers and healing for Cohen and his parents, Brent and Megan.  As Megan always reminds us, God is in control.  This piece reminds us that there are no coincidences in life - they are things that God does when He chooses to remain anonymous.  I hope this speaks to you as it has to me.  How do people handle what life deals them without the Lord? 

I once read that a coincidence is just when God chooses to remain anonymous.......


The SPARROW at STARBUCKS

The song that silenced the cappuccino machine. It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square . Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked. "No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?" "Well. ... do you know any hymns?"

Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one." "Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one." "Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?" My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged?

Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I'm happy;

I sing because I'm free.

For His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued.. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!" "Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said. "Why is that?" "Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song." "Really!" I exclaimed. "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual.. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week." I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just remember...

Noah was a drunk

Abraham was too old

Isaac was a daydreamer

Jacob was a liar

Leah was ugly

Joseph was abused

Moses had a stuttering problem

Gideon was afraid

Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

David had an affair and was a murderer

Elijah was suicidal

Isaiah preached naked

Jonah ran from God

Naomi was a widow

Job went bankrupt

John the Baptist ate bugs

Peter denied Christ

The Disciples fell asleep while praying

Martha worried about everything

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too small

Paul was too religious

Timothy had an ulcer...AND

Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger. God bless you and those you are loving and thinking of. God has placed them on your heart for a reason!

Author: John Thomas Oaks

Have a Blessed day!

5 comments:

  1. I have loved that song ever since I heard Lauryn Hill (before she was famous) sing it in Sister Act 2... kind of comical! I don't know why, but I started crying reading this, and reading the lyrics. If you're going to post someone else's story, this was a good one to choose.

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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Lucy

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  3. I read this when you posted it...and like 5 times since. I love it.

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  4. You continue to inspire me. Keep the posts coming!

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  5. Brought me to tears too, Cathy, I'm so glad I found your blog... I can't seem to get mine started regularly but you are an inspiration!

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