I love to look at the old console radio sitting in my living room: waterfall front, deco-styling, birdseye maple veneer, and a wooden speaker grill that opens in the front. But, the radio isn’t a collector’s item with factory-original parts. Behind that grill is empty space. No original components inside.
See, I don’t listen to traditional radio much. Usually, I’m rockin’ Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify. I stream my music straight from my phone, laptop, or tablet into powered computer speakers. It’s all technology and no charm, no warmth.
Since my computer speakers don’t really fit with my living room decor, the perfect solution for me was to take an old gutted radio and put my modern set up inside it. Vintage and stylish outside, modern and reliable inside. That’s my vibe and the radio fits perfectly.
I clean the old radio, but I don’t want it to look new. I would hate to erase the evidences of its bumpy history. I value scratches and dings.
I went through some life events in 2008 that dinged me up, too.
Much of my life was defined by being a husband, father, and pastor. However, within one year, I was divorced, stepped down from the pastoral role, and began seeing my sons on weekends. They went to live at their mother’s boyfriend’s house an hour away.
I was buried under mountains of grief, rejection, and humiliation, and my identity was shattered.
I cried out to God, “What am I supposed to do now? What’s a husband with no wife? What’s a father who only sees his children eight days a month? What is a pastor without a church?”
There sat the old radio against the wall. A quiet voice in my head asked, “What’s a radio that’s not a radio?” Love and acceptance swept over me.
I searched patiently for that old gutted out radio. A man sold it cheap since it would require so much work to get it back to original condition. He offered advice on finding original parts. I listened, but wasn’t interested. I didn’t want it for what it was. I intended to put something new inside it. Something better. Something I would actually use.
That radio was God’s response to my cry. Incredible hope welled up in that sacred moment.
I understood that my life wasn’t through; God was just getting started. I was blown away as I sensed His excitement for me and my future. He was pursuing a gutted man and wanted to put something new and better in the empty spaces.
That old radio gets plenty of use and stands as a reminder of how our God takes discarded, hollowed out things and puts new music in them. Man, I could write a whole album about that. I’d call it Hope Tree.