People are a lot like guitar strings and God is the virtuoso who plays them. Let’s see what we can learn from that.
We are like that before we give our lives to Jesus. We have potential, but are unusable because, in our natural state, we are twisted around ourselves and detached from the things necessary to realize that promise. God must pick us up, straighten us out, and align us with Himself before we can even begin to receive, and give others, the good things He offers. Absent that, we remain twisted, separated, and wasted. The good news—the gospel—is that God is eager to lovingly straighten us out and put us to work by attaching us to his Church. But that’s just the start.
Although being attached is not enough by itself to make us ready to produce engaging sounds, it is essential. Just as a string can’t be stretched into tune unless it is firmly attached to the guitar, we can’t be prepared for what God intends unless we are firmly connected to His body, the Church, and biblical truth, the Church’s foundation.
And we must stay firmly in touch with God as he works in our day-to-day lives. It’s just like a string being fixed to the base of the guitar and wrapped around its tuning peg, following the peg's twists as they are made. Being connected is the only way we can get in tune; there's just no other way.
That results in our being stretched. A guitar string sounds terrible if it is not tightened beyond its natural state; we are inherently off key if we don’t let God tune us. It isn’t natural or easy, but it beats the alternative (wallowing in ineffectiveness) and the results are definitely worth it. It’s painful at times but, to mix metaphors, “no pain, no gain.”
Being played requires us to yield to outside pressure. Whether it’s being gently strummed along with others, individually plucked, or really bent to reach a high note, strings only make music when they are struck by the musician. No pressure, no playing and, ultimately, no pleasure. Indeed, some of the most compelling notes are the result of the most extreme pressure.
There's no set pattern to how we are played so we have to be ready for whatever the Musician has in mind. He does not always play the same song so the notes, and hence the pressure, changes over time. And even if a song is reprised, it's rarely played the same way twice. But regardless of the song, God, the Master Musician, knows how much pressure we can take and does not press us beyond that limit; He never breaks a string. And no song goes on forever, giving us breaks between performances.
Chords only happens when multiple strings are combined; they are formed by collections of different notes, made by strings of different thicknesses, tuned to different degrees of tension. In other words, chords can only come out of the harmonious combination of different elements.
It’s the same with us. We can only yield the richness and variety God intends if we work together with others who are different from us.
Similar things happen to us. We go flat when we aren’t tightly connected to the God’s tuning key and start to revert to our old, discordant, nature. We can also get out of synch if we let other influences (media, unhealthy relationships, and habits, etc.) set us vibrating to their frequencies instead of the pure tone God designed us for. And we can innocently, but undeniably, fall out of tune if we spend so much time doing the work God calls us to that we are unable to spend time with Him in prayer, meditation on scripture, worship, and fellowship with other believers.
But the good news is that we can always be retuned. God is eager to tune us up if we will recognize our need for it by retightening our connection to His tuning peg and letting Him stretch us back into harmony with Him.