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Where is that Beautiful Music Coming From? A Story of Hope and Peace

 by Lila Morgan,

When I was a nine-year-old Kansas girl in 1935, our city’s health officer placed a sign in the window of our red-brick house-SCARLET FEVER. It warned those approaching not to enter. All the joyful music in our happy household stopped.

My seven-year-old sister, Mary Ann, contracted the illness after exposure to a sick child in the neighborhood. Needless to say, this diagnosis brought fear to our home. Mother cared for our sister night and day. Then, the unthinkable happened. She, too, was stricken! A scarlet rash covered her body, and her temperature soared. As she struggled with this often-fatal sickness, happy children’s songs froze on our lips.

Our father, a welder in a refinery, hired nurses to work around the clock, and a housekeeper to care for us. Friends brought food to the door, but they never stayed more than a few moments. Only our father and the nurses could enter or exit. We were an island of sickness and sorrow.

There were no sulfa drugs or medicines in those days to fight infections. Mother’s fever rose higher and higher until it reached 108 degrees, and she became blind.

The sign: SCARLET FEVER was placed in the window It warned those approaching not to enter. All the joyful music in our happy household stopped.

Shortly before her death, mother asked her nurse, “Where is that beautiful music coming from?”

Daddy snuggled my two sisters and me around him in his large, overstuffed chair. “Your mother is going to heaven,” he said, as his voice broke with emotion.

Before she died, Daddy allowed us to enter her bedroom. “I love you, Mother,” I said. I could tell she recognized my voice.

Leaving her room, I curled into a fetal position on the divan, retreating undisturbed into my own silent world. My grief was too much to bear, because I couldn’t hear the heavenly music which comforted by mother.

The day of her funeral was set apart like no other in my experience. Because she died of a contagious disease, only a graveside service could be held. Dorothy, my older sister, and I had to stay in the car so people couldn’t touch us as they walked by to offer their condolences. Mary Ann remained at home.

While Mary Ann was recovering, I helped entertain her. We had a metal tray and some small marbles which fit into a groove around the edge. After putting several of them in the groove, we tipped it so the marbles would race around the outside rim. There was an art to tipping it only so high so they wouldn’t roll off. We both became experts at this improvised game.

When Mary Ann was well, we all tried to pick up the pieces of our lives and go on, but Mother’s absence made it terribly difficult. Every day, when Father came home from work, we drove to the cemetery north of town. We took fresh flowers from our garden, and often cut the grass around the small marble tombstone which said MOTHER. Even near her grave, I couldn’t hear the music she loved. How we sorrowed for her.

A cemetery has a social atmosphere which only those who grieve experience. We met others who had lost loved ones, and we shared our losses with each other. It helped our grief as the days came and went.

Dorothy’s handicap made her unable to help care for a household, although she was fifteen. Because of this, Daddy hired a live-in housekeeper. He converted a long porch on the back of our house to another bedroom, and hired a cook, housekeeper, and sitter all rolled into one–for the handsome sum of three dollars a week.

During the course of three years, we had thirty-some women care for us. We would no more get acquainted with one than she would quit, or dad would fire her. One woman lasted two days. On her second day on the job, she spanked little Mary Ann for not coming in the house when she called. When Daddy came home and saw tears in his darling’s eyes, he immediately asked the housekeeper to pack her things. He took her home pronto, and we girls thought, Good riddance!

Another woman brought some little “friends” with her when she moved into our house– scabies! We all caught them within days. Bathing and a foul-smelling ointment prescribed by our doctor took care of the problem. After we rid our house of her “friends,” she stayed for several years. In her sixties, she loved to smoke, but Daddy let her only do it in the bathroom. She was in there a lot!

The years dragged by until I became a teenager, and I attended a Baptist church with my best friend. I discovered a wonderful group of friendly people who loved and cared for my sisters and me. Before long, we girls went every Sunday, but Daddy only came with us on special occasions like Easter or Christmas. However, the church people reached out to us, and because of that, I would eventually learn why mother heard such beautiful music on her deathbed.

One young woman in the church considered herself a matchmaker. It wasn’t too long before a red-haired young man, Harold, and I became her project. We were both shy, so she proceeded to help us become acquainted by insisting I sit next to him on the way home from a church get-together at the park.

It worked. We were married before he served in the Army Air Force on Guam during WWII. When Harold came home after three long years, we started a new life together. He had a number of jobs: a farm hand, aircraft work, and finally a great job with the refinery where my father worked. Life seemed good, and we welcomed the first of our four children of two boys and two girls.

The church where we’d met and married was a vital part of our everyday lives. One day, Harold bounded in the door after work announcing, “Honey, Guess what. The Lord is calling me to preach!”
I thought, No way!

That role for either of us was out of the question for me. Yet, he seemed so happy and thrilled with the prospect of preaching the rest of his life. Although I was a member of the church, I did not hear the “song” he sang. Although I had been baptized by immersion, completely submerged, nothing had been washed away from the inside out.

“Harold, you mean to leave a good job? Move to who knows where?”
My lack of enthusiasm caused agony for my husband. One day, he went into a pasture, sat down and poured out his heart to the Lord, “I feel called to preach, Lord, but I don’t know how it can happen. Lila is not in agreement with me, and school seems out of the question.”

Soon, he felt the Lord’s hand on his shoulder with these words, “It’s going to be okay.”

 

B;ue background with text overlay: Where is that beautiful music coming from

I found excuses for not going to church with Harold. Finally, a series of events brought me to the point where I could risk everything to follow my husband’s calling. First, the Lord grabbed my attention through a radio program while Harold was at church one evening.

Next, near our town was a rural schoolhouse where our church started a Sunday school for those in the area. Before long, Harold was preaching there. Still, I struggled to hear the beautiful music he heard.

One week, a guest preacher came to speak at our rural church. He knew the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and quoted many parts of it by heart.

One Scripture touched my soul, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 KJV). That verse led to a sleepless night. I tossed and turned, in great turmoil–caught in a terrible battle–as Satan pulled me to continue to go astray, but the Lord pulled harder and won my heart.

I finally said, “Yes Jesus, direct my life as Lord and Savior.”

The eternal music came into my life and peace enveloped me. I understood why my mother heard the angels sing on her deathbed. I shared in Harold’s calling to the ministry.

He graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University, utilizing the GI Bill, and we spent thirty-five years serving the Lord together, in harmony.

Now, at eighty years of age, that question-“Where is that beautiful music coming from?”-may be addressed before long to those who stand around my deathbed. I pray my children will be comforted as they realize I have joined my mother and family, and we will be there waiting for them, where the saints and angels sing glorious words of praise to Almighty God for all eternity.

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This story is written by my mother, Lila Lee Morgan.  She died November, 2015, three years after my father.  She wrote this article for the book,  His Forever: Stories of Real People finding Jesus. It wasn’t published because they needed men’s stories at the time. However, my father’s and my son Kurt’s stories are published in this compilation book.

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M6B Purpose, Deliverance & Protection of El Shaddai

THE BLESSINGS OF EL SHADDAI – continued

God is El Shaddai

El Shaddai’s promise of a homeland—purpose and heaven

Isaac blessed Jacob with these words, “May he [God Almighty] give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham” (Gen. 28:4). With this promise, Jacob knew he would someday return from his Uncle Laban to claim possession of God’s purpose for his life. We know now that he became the father of twelve sons who would personally possess the land of Canaan that would become known as Israel. In fact, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. [This is only one of many times the Israelites left their homeland to later reclaim it.

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Denise and Joe had been trusting God for their future and life purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 meant much to them, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

After Joe’s ten-year managerial job ended, he struggled to find something that utilized his skills and desires. In four years he had four jobs. Denise kept encouraging him and together they kept standing on the promise that the Lord is able to restore the years the locusts have eaten (see Joel 2:25). Seeking the Lord’s direction and purpose, they felt God shepherding them to move, but not knowing where.

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The promise of a homeland refers also to  heaven of which the Promised Land of Canaan symbolizes. The word crossing, as of crossing the Jordan River (see Josh. 4:1), is the Hebrew word âbâr, which means “to pass over . . . to go beyond . . . to depart . . . to impregnate . . . going beyond a certain physical point.”[1] It also symbolizes entry into our destiny purpose and God’s best for our lives here on earth—going beyond our present state, possessing all God has for us.

El Shaddai’s purpose to promise deliverance from bondage

El Shaddai powerful and mighty one ofpurpose

Jumping from Jacob’s story to the story of Moses, we learn that in obedience to The Almighty, Moses returned to Egypt where he tried to persuade Pharaoh to free the people. To Moses, El Shaddai reveals himself as The Powerful One, the Mighty One, and changes, or replaces, his own name to “Jehovah,” [Chapter 22 of this book explains this in-depth name of God] with the same self-sufficiency as El Shaddai. The fullness of time had arrived for Jehovah also, because now, through Abraham and his descendant’s obedience and influence—Moses and the children of Israel (Jacob)—He obtains greater influence upon the earth. With increase in influence, comes a name change. The Lord, meaning Jehovah, said to Moses,

“I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord, I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.”   —Exodus 6:2-4

He remembered His covenant—the blood.

The Almighty promises deliverance from bondage—spiritually and physically on this earth. That is His job, His purpose, and His desire. But, the deliverance of the children of Israel did not manifest until the most important last plague occurred. The Lord, through Moses, instructed them to sprinkle blood over the doorposts of their houses—from a sacrificial lamb. The blood protected them from judgment that Passover night when the death angel took the life of the firstborn sons of Egypt, including Pharaoh’s son. All this pointed to Jesus, our sacrificial Lamb, and the deliverance from sin, death, and bondage we have through his blood.

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Denise and Joe felt they were in limbo land, much like when the children of Israel traveled around the same mountain, getting nowhere. She went back to work after six weeks at home with the baby—while Joe was still on unemployment. In the evenings, she took over baby care, fell into bed at 11:00 p.m., and awoke at 5:30 a.m. to care for baby again.

During this time Joe made a number of trips to Texas to take a test to get on the railroad, driving his only mode of transportation, his motorcycle. He passed the test three times, but could not get hired. Unemployment ran out. He was offered another dead-end job. He and Denise finally had enough; it was time to take a leap of faith.

Friends in Texas offered Joe a place to stay, so Denise pushed him out the door and stayed behind to sell the house. After only eight days, Joe was hired on temporarily with Northwest Pipe Company—with great pay and benefits. After two and one-half months and permanently hired, he rented an apartment and went back for Denise and the baby. They left town on a Sunday; the house sold on Monday. This time they were driving a pickup truck that a friend traded him for his motorcycle. Proceeds from the sale of their house paid their debt. The best part: Denise was now able to stay at home with their year-old daughter.

El Shaddai’s Purpose: Shadow of Protection for His Children

El Shaddai's purpose shadow of protection

One of the most comforting verses in the whole Bible comes from Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” This shadow can be equated to the shadow the Lord gave the children of Israel in the cloud by day to give them shade to protect them from the hot sun of the desert. It can also be thought of as the protecting wings of a mother hen as she shelters her chicks from the storm. Referring to Chapter 5 of this book, the shadow is the protecting red umbrella dipped in the blood of the Lamb over our heads. Psalm 91:1 is one of the forty-eight times where the Almighty (El Shaddai) appears in the Old Testament. He is our Protector.

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Many stories of God’s protection can be told, but for Joe, it was with his motorcycle. On one of the trips to Texas, Joe’s motorcycle had mechanical problems. It just so happened to be in a place where a mechanic was able to help him. All Joe had to do was buy the part, and the man told him how to put it on, saving Joe labor costs, and he safely made his time deadline while being protected on the interstate highways—carried by El Shaddai.

[1] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1756