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“One of these things is not like the others.” Some of you are remembering those fun aptitude tests as you were graduating from high school. And some of you were thinking … Sesame Street! For instance, which does not belong in this list? 1) apples 2) oranges 3) bananas or 4) monkeys on a rock eating bananas in space. How about this one: 1) Grammy award nominated gospel rap artist Flame 2) Grammy award nominated Christian rock band Fireflight or 3) Wig wearing Grammy award watcher Larry Bubb? Yet there I was on stage at the CA youth conference with both of those popular groups. In fact, not only did I have the privilege of introducing them, since I actually also followed them, they each ended up being my “warm up band.” (I had a great time talking to wild Hip-Hop rapper Flame since he is actually attending Southern Seminary where I got my Master’s degree!!!)
However, contrary to how it may sound so far, I would not give my troubles to a monkey on a rock! I recently read that Time + Tragedy = Comedy. Since I did start out as a math major, I will use my mad math skills to deduce that Comedy - Time = Tragedy. I experienced this firsthand at the aforementioned youth conference.
A wise sage once said you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. With this strategy in mind, I bought a brand new wig (some of my wigs are so old they’re turning gray … just like my hair) and was ready to dazzle these teenagers. Wrong-O, space monkey breath! I pushed the button on the CD player to start the background music to my first parody and there was a very loud … silence! My music was dead. After a few futile attempts, I tried not to panic or completely melt down as I quickly ascertained what alternate song I could do with just my guitar. With a different wig in place, I began playing only to soon discover that my guitar was not coming through the billion dollar sound system either! AARRGGHHH!
When we sound-checked earlier in this auditorium of the Manchester Grand Hyatt of San Diego, everything was working and sounding phenomenal! In my 25-plus years of 1,000s of concerts, etc. I can’t remember even one other time when neither the CD player nor guitar was working. It was literally the day the music died for me!
Before I tell you what happened next, allow me to quote my friend Rich Mullins as he prophetically wrote a few years before he crossed the Jordan into the presence of the Awesome God he sang about.
“Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again,
‘Cause it's the finest thing I have ever found.” (Elijah)
“And a music higher than the songs that I can sing,
The stuff of Earth competes for the allegiance,
I owe only to the giver of all good things.” (If I Stand)
Music is a powerful tool, which I have been privileged to use for God’s glory to reach and touch many lives over the years. So WHY would this happen now? Later I pondered some of the options God showed me when I wrote the critically acclaimed article called “WHY?” (You can read it in the archives of Larrybubb.com found at this link: http://bubb.worthyofpraise.org/zwhy.htm)
Strangely, I was reminded of a computer problem I was attempting to solve years ago in the early days of computers, just after the tech support people for the most part became useless trying to fix every problem by telling you to turn your computer off and then back on again. I researched online in numerous forums. I even went to the library and researched a number of computer tech resource books but none had the answer to solve this problem. I finally gave up on being able to solve the problem. That night as I was praying in bed, I got this brilliant idea to ask God about it since He is obviously smarter than all the tech support people put together. As I was falling in and out of sleep that night an idea came to mind. The very next day I turned the computer on, tried the new fix, and lo and behold … the computer was back working again! Then, of course, I fried the keyboard from my tears of joy. Just kidding!
This taught me a huge lesson in trusting God and not leaning on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5,6). It's so easy to say we trust God when things are going well … the exact way we want and/or plan them to. But then when things are not going so well, we tend to forget about those good times. For instance, let's say you break your leg and lose your job. As you are in pain and not making any money, it is easy to conclude that God has let you down. Suddenly you forget all those times when you said God is so good and God is so great. But then because of losing the first job, two months later you end up getting a better job that pays more and is more enjoyable. As your leg is healing you have been able to write some letters, er, I mean send some texts (like Paul when he was in prison … writing text), make some calls, and encourage someone to follow Jesus or walk closer to God as a result of the pain and misery you went through. So now all of a sudden God is back on the throne and He is great again! Until the next set of disasters comes along and once again we focus on those problems rather than the goodness God wants to bring out of them.
The bottom line is we need to learn to trust Him, even when we can't see into the future or understand why things are happening the way they are at the present time. We also need to write down or record those times when God showed up and came through so we can remember when times get tough.
So what was God’s silver lining chess playbook the day the music died? Well, one of the sound tech guys quickly grabbed another mic stand to put in front of my guitar to solve that problem. After a few songs on acoustic guitar, God miraculously raised my CD player back from the dead and music came forth once again!
But that was just surface and not God’s real play. I was still frustrated and a bit down, as I had been looking forward to this incredible opportunity to share with teens from all over CA and it had not gone anywhere near what I had hoped or prayed for. Later that evening I was talking to a group of students about what they liked most at the conference. One of the junior high guys actually said I was his favorite part! That was stunning, humbling, and very encouraging. Another young lady thought I was “hilarious.” I believe God sent them along to encourage me but that was still not God’s most powerful chess move. Because it was obviously NOT about how well I did, but about what God did. By far the most important outcome was over 100 students making 1st time decisions to follow Jesus!
Over the years, some have tried to silence the Tune or say it was irrelevant or it was a myth or never really existed. Some even decided the only solution was to kill the Tune. But even the most deafening silence could not or will ever be able to stop the beautiful life-giving sounds of the Tune! “There’s a music higher than the songs that I can sing!”
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