Not the First and the Last

There is a hole in my ceiling. In the basement room where I practice organ, what began as mild water damage is now a hole. My first instinct was anxiety, but as I investigated our home’s new “feature” last night, the following phrase came to mind:

“You are not the first to have water damage, and you certainly won’t be the last.”

Somehow, the thought that I am far from alone in my little stressors is helpful. The fact that my house’s problems are not unique is a relief. The reality that hardly anything in my life is truly “unprecedented” is deeply comforting

This morning, I arrived at church and began practicing the pipe organ. All was going exceptionally well until the combination action suddenly stopped working. You don’t need to know much about the pipe organ to know this is a major problem. Imagine being used to automatic transmission and suddenly having your car morph into a stick shift before a big road trip. Got the idea?

Well, I managed. And, once more, I found myself soothed by the thought that I was neither the first nor the last church musician to deal with such an issue. Many other organists have dealt with organ failure (pun intended) before and emerged victorious—or, at least, they have managed to keep worship going smoothly. Many musicians (and I among them) will face these inconveniences again and again. After all, is there really any such thing as a “typical Sunday” in ministry?

I am not the first. I am not the last.

Just as the combination action died, I received a text from my husband. He had just arrived at Prairie Bible to find two dogs curled up outside, waiting for help. My heart broke as I thought of those poor dogs wandering around in the snow and ending up on our church’s doorstep. Immediately, I began thinking about how to help, even as I was preparing to play a service across town. I grew more and more anxious until:

“You are not the first. You are not the last.”

Prairie Bible is not the first church to discover and care for stray dogs. I am not the first organist to face a mechanical issue right before service. My house is not the first house to need maintenance.

I am not the first and the last, but I know Who is.

I know Who goes before me. I know Who allows me to face broken things, teaching me to love His wholeness (and holiness). I know Who empowers me to play well on a faulty instrument, for He has made me one of His chosen instruments. I know Who oversees creation, leading lost pets to His house and encouraging His image-bearers to care for them.

In situations like these, I take comfort in the truth that I am not the first and certainly won’t be the last; I am hemmed behind and before by the One Who is the First and Last, the Beginning and End, the Alpha and Omega.


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