crescendo \krə-ˈshen-(ˌ)dō\ : the peak of a gradual increase
It was one of those abnormally warm, humid January days in Atlanta.73 degrees – in January! As a near-native to this metropolis down South, I (like anyone else who has lived here for any length of time) have grown accustomed to the inevitable, unexplainable hot and muggy blip on a thermostat in mid-winter. Here, we dress in layers, because the idea of “seasons” sometimes gets a little…blurry!
Driving home from the gym after a long and intense workout, I clicked on the a/c in my car. All I could think about in the hot gym was how good the cold air would feel on my drive home. I turned the dial to full blast.
Dead. Dead, dead, dead.
This had been an intermittent problem over the previous summer – my a/c would often not engage until I hit a bump or turned hard. Basically, if I wanted to be cool, I had to drive like a maniac. On this day, though, no matter what I tried, the a/c would not engage. I was H-O-T! Rolling the windows down didn’t help because of the muggy, humid air outside. Anyone who knows me well knows that it’s always winter inside my house, and that I’m not a fan of the heat. Suffice it to say, on this humid day in my car driving home after an intense workout, I was miserable and could barely breathe as sweat poured down my face.
I took a deep breath and braced myself for the long and HOT drive home. I clicked on my iPod, set it to “shuffle” and decided to put the heat and my discomfort out of my mind by singing at the top of my lungs. Surely that would work. The “shuffle” setting on my iPod makes for an interesting playlist due to my diverse musical taste, so I was prepared at any moment to hear anything from Hillsong, Aerosmith, Billie Holiday, Jesus Culture, Carlos Santana, Pavarotti, Coldplay, Casting Crowns, or James Brown blare through my speakers.
Please God, whatever song plays, just let it have a beat and let me know all the words so I can boogie my way home to quickly pass the time.
(Such a holy prayer, right? Ha!)
At the sound of the first note, I knew what it was …. “Walk In the Promise” by Bethel Worship. One of my favorites.
SCORE! I knew all the words, and this one makes me sing with my hands and bounce in my seat. Excellent! I started my drive as the song began…
Our souls wait in silence, in rest and in quiet for You, Spirit… In trust and dependence, we walk in the promise of You, coming…With hope and healing in Your wings,with fire and with wind, You fall on us again.
By this point, I was soaking wet, head to toe, from the heat. But I didn’t care anymore. My focus had changed…to worship. I wanted more.
Here we are waiting for this house to be shaken, for the boldness to carry Your name to the nations!
Yes, Lord!!!! Even more of You!!!!
I bounced in my seat and sang each word louder than the next, as the words built up to the crescendo:
Your signs and Your wonders to go now before us, For the weight of Your glory to rest as we lift You up…WE LIFT YOU UP!
And right there, at the crescendo of this beautiful song of praise and worship andat the precise moment my lips began to form the words “We lift You up”…
The a/c kicked on, full blast, all at once and so powerfully that a little cloud of white, icy air shot out and made little tiny snowflakes fall in my car. For real! As I sang those words over and over again – “We lift You up” – the heat melted away and I felt renewed and reborn as the cold air reached my flushed, red, burning face and flowed down my body cooling me from the inside out.
As I had been overtaken by His presence, He led me with love to the crescendo, where He revealed His power and grace. I was overcome with gratitude, and I wept all the way home.
Crescendo. The peak of gradual increase. He knew what I desired. He knew my ache and my thirst. He knew my need. And at the very moment I lifted Him up, He provided it…and with GUSTO!
That’s how it is with Him, isn’t it. No matter what “heat” is making us uncomfortable today, just a little bit of His presence, and a little bit of praise leads us to our crescendo. Increase after increase after increase leads us to our path out of the fire into that cold, healing, life-giving air.
Oh, I know it is not always easy. And so does He. We don’t serve a shrine, we serve a living Savior who understands. Think about His path to the crescendo at Calvary. He knows that praise in the unrelenting heat and in the pain and in the confusion is hard. But He is there in our every step, to lead us with His love to our crescendo, where He reveals His power and quenches our parched souls. Every single time.
Friend, as you step into the increase and allow the Lord to lead you to your beautiful crescendo, anticipate with eager expectation what the Lord will do. He’s going to blow your mind!
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)