Studies

I was so sure where the path would lead – and then the music faded

Chantel Tay // June 5, 2018, 3:45 pm

uncertain

As a child, I was a dedicated musician. Academic schooling was mandatory, but music nonetheless took on a large part of my life – I spent hours practising, and weekends were dedicated to shuttling to and from music classes.

I became more certain of my music journey as I grew older. At 14, I left the dance club to join my school’s Piano Ensemble. This further exposed me to opportunities that enhanced my experience as a musician.

I performed in solos, duets, and even with my school’s string orchestra. Eventually, I was accepted into the Music Education Programme, where music took up an integral role in my schooling life.

By then, I was convinced music had to be my calling; it was evident in my eyes that this was the plan God had in store for me. Everything seemed to be going well, and I was ready to pursue a music degree once I was done with my academics. This was going to be the year.

When I was unexpectedly shortlisted to take part in a conservatory’s piano academy, comprising of international students across the globe, it was an answered prayer for a clear sign that music was the path for me. This is it! I remember thinking.

But everything came crashing down when I suddenly sustained a wrist injury. The doctor diagnosed it as tendonitis, and the recovery duration was uncertain.
I felt as though everything I’d held so closely onto had been taken away from me.

 

Due to my inability to play even after a month, I eventually withdrew from the academy. At that point, my head was clouded in thoughts. Why, Lord? Wasn’t this Your clear plan for me?

What am I going to do now?

There were a lot of tears, a lot of frustration. I felt as though a goal that I had chased for years had amounted to nothing. If music was taken away from me, I had no idea where my calling lay. It definitely didn’t help that my friends were all busily sourcing for internships with a much clearer idea of what they wanted to do.

My injury continues to act up once in a while, and I am currently no longer pursuing music. Instead, I will be pursuing a Communication Studies degree – somewhere I never expected myself to be doing.

I’ve been thinking about the fleeting nature of earthly possessions set against the unwavering nature of God. When everything was going haywire, I realised that the one thing constant that I could seek and lean upon was God.

God is good even when there is nothing good happening in front of us. He doesn’t stop being good when things in our life look bad. In my heartbreak and confusion, I learnt what it means that His faithfulness is what remains unchanging in an ever changing world.

 

I was also reminded of the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-27, how he was so sorrowful when Jesus asked him to leave everything he owned in order to follow Him. If music was everything to me, then I was probably in this young man’s position.

But all the more, through this season, I’ve never been more convicted that I want to develop a faith that says yes to whatever Jesus asks of me, even if it means letting go of the dearest things in my heart out of trust that He only has good plans for me.

There will always be unending questions in my head about why this all happened. But I’m choosing to believe that God will make things right and beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). After all, I exist so that He will be glorified through my life.

When God chooses to close some doors and open others, He doesn’t call us to fathom His plans. He merely calls us to be faithful and follow Him. And this is what I hope to do.

The crucial thing about faith, I’ve come to learn, is not about its capacity, but how enduring it is.

“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ So the Lord said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6)

I believe the intention of using a mustard seed – something seemingly small, incapable of achieving much, is to emphasise that faith is the basis for growth in the Lord.

Sometimes we fall behind when our plans don’t work out, perhaps simply because God already has a better plan in mind for us – but how often do we find ourselves lamenting to Him: Do You not love me?

But before you bury yourself in emotional distress, feelings of unworthiness and doubt, I want you to remember that God loves each and every one of you.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

If God has crafted each and every one of us based on His desires, how could we doubt His love for us?

I know how challenging it is to keep the faith when everything that was going well suddenly takes a turn for the worse. But I’d like to believe that adversity is an opportunity for us to run towards our Heavenly Father instead of away from Him.

So run to Him. He will prove faithful.