noun: a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds
I’m a fan of the symphony; at least, I was back in the day when your elementary class got to go on a field trip downtown and experience the symphony. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a live symphony in a very, very long time (like I can’t ever remember going after elementary school). One thing that stayed with me long after the symphony field trip was over was the music—obviously. At the time I was a pianist who spent many afternoons befriending the sonatas of Bach and Beethoven as well as a few concertos of Mozart and Chopin. The symphony encouraged my dreams of pianist grandeur. One day, I would be on that stage and play as beautifully and perfectly as the players that currently held our tiny elementary-brain attention spans. But alas, it’s been 18 years since my fingers sailed over the keys. Carnegie Hall will not be calling me to perform. However, I still know enough of symphonies to desire its harmonious blend in my life and not just musically.
If a symphony is the harmonious blend of elements then cacophony has to be its enemy. A symphony is pleasing; a cacophony is harsh. A symphony is compatibility; a cacophony is contradictory. The analogies could go on forever, and at some point we’d easily find the cacophonous word that describes various elements of our lives: unhealthy relationships, job dissatisfaction, marital troubles, motherhood failures, or self-esteem struggles. No matter the lyrics to your cacophony, we all wish we could just get it off repeat!
The Samaritan woman in John 4 definitely dealt with a cacophony of voices in her head. Renee Swope in her book The Confident Heart makes some interesting observations about the Samaritan woman. Typically, women came to the well in the morning or evening to avoid the heat. Consider it a kind of “coffee talk” time with friends as they headed to the well each day. Swope points out that the Samaritan woman was traveling to the well during the hottest part of the day and alone. She was probably avoiding the gossip and hurtful words that were said about her as others made their way to fetch water each day. She was the “town disgrace” — married five times and now living with a man who didn’t value her enough to marry her. I imagine the voices in her head were a thunderous cacophony. Little did she know that one encounter with Jesus would silence that cacophony.
A close friend once mentioned that God delights in the messy–in chaos. A closer look in scripture proves this to be true. Genesis 1:2 says that the earth was “formless and empty, and darkness hovered over the earth,” but over the next 6 days God sorted and separated, designed and designated. In the end, the mess turned into beautiful order — a symphony created from a cacophony.
Jesus saw the messy in the Samaritan woman and began to rewrite her jumble of discordant notes into a harmonious melody. God sees the chaos in our lives. He, too, hears the dissonance of our daily thoughts regarding our unhappy marriage, our struggling friendships, our frustrated mothering, or our depleted self-esteem. He delights in it simply because He can–if we will let him– turn it into a symphony of His love. Daily seeking Him and learning the music of His words allows God to rewrite our life’s incompatibilities into perfectly blended and played notes. Today, right now, you can bring Him the messy and let Him drown out the cacophony with the symphony of His love.