The Touch of the Master’s Hand

E-Geige. Silent Violin SV-120 (Yamaha). Backgr...

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by Myra Brooks Welch

Twas battered and scarred, and the old auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
to waste much time on the old violin,
But he still held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
going for three …” but no.
From the room far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said; “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand! And who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed it’s worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of the master’s hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sun,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like this old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine;
A game; and he travels on.
He is “going” once, “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

Driving through my childhood neighborhood or looking for familiar landmarks in the town I grew up in, walking into stores and shops that are as familiar to my memory as old photographs ~ all these experiences and more bring me back to the days when life was … simpler. At least, simpler in my understanding of the world. White was white and black was black. Good was good and bad was bad. There was no complicated theology and I certainly did not have a personal revelation or a realization that bad things will happen to good people and we may never be able to answer the question, “Why?”

Sitting in a courtroom and being flooded with memories, I can not help but be grateful for the touch of my Master, my Savior’s hand on my life. What a mess I would be (and I am a mess under the best of circumstances!) without His guiding hand on my life. And I am so grateful!

Lord, I thank you for these sweet memories! And thank you for the pain in my heart. And I thank you for being here with me as I go through this difficulty. I know your plans are bigger than mine so I’m holding on for that day in glory when I can praise you face to face and thank you at your feet for being my constant companion and carrying my burdens when they were too heavy for me to bear. Amen!

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18


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