Just Whistlin’

I’m a whistler. I admit it.

But I come by it honestly. My dad was a whistler, too. In fact, the family could locate him in the house or in the yard just by following the sound. Maybe he’d be rendering a Southern Gospel tune, a hymn, or a ‘40s classic, but we always knew what was in his heart by what song came from his lips.

Maybe it’s genetic because I often find myself whistling (at ultra-low volume most of the time) from my mental repertoire, which is quite wide: from “Auld Lang Syne”, to my high school fight song, or to something we sang at church last Sunday.

Recently, after many decades of surrendering to this habit, I decided to actually analyze my playlist, making notes and tracing the tune from whence it came. Sometimes it’s produced from a line in a movie or TV show that I’ve just watched. The “Theme from Jurassic Park” or “Darth Vader’s Theme” are personal favorites. So is “Gone Fishin’,” the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show. I don’t have the tunes fully categorized according to popularity, but I do know that at least somewhere in the top five is the old chorus “God Is So Good.” It’s not hard to trace this subliminal message that I often produce in tune form.

You’ve heard the saying, “God is good—all the time and all the time—God is good.” If I turn on the TV or look at the effects of evil, I admit that I begin to question this train of thought. How can God be good when so many are hungry, oppressed, and dying?

In Dr. James Dobson’s book When God Doesn’t Make Sense, one of the first points the author makes is that God isn’t obliged to explain Himself or His ways to us. In fact, Dobson writes that God chooses to hide Himself from us—even for reasons we cannot know. The word why falls from our lips all too often, and yet God will not reveal some answers no matter how fervently we beg. Isaiah reminds us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, or His ways our ways. I take that to mean that God knows we can’t possibly comprehend the grand design of life; only bits and pieces, and small ones at that. I believe that the jigsaw puzzle picture doesn’t come clear on this side of eternity. I don’t like to admit that. I want to have His plan all mapped out (or GPSed), especially when I’m reminded of human suffering and mortality. Sometimes it seems as though God has lost control or, worse, has abandoned me.

In the biblical account of Job, God attempts to explain why bad things happen to good people. But even that story puzzles me because I can’t imagine God and Satan having a conversation, much less challenging each other when it came to the faithfulness of His servant. Read the Book of Job and explain it to me if you will. I’m all ears. The only takeaways I have to that story are Job’s takeaways from his experience. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (NJKV Job 1:21) “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God…”(NJKV Job 19:24-26).

So, when anyone asks me, “How’s life?” I say, “Life is life, but God is good.” I have to believe that or NOTHING makes sense. And I’ll whistle my tunes, especially the one favoring this simple message about God’s goodness.

P.S. If my sons pick up this habit, does that make me Whistler’s Mother?

2 responses to “Just Whistlin’

  1. What started out as a “whistle while you work” type writing turn into deep thoughts way over my tiny brains capacity. However, it did make me think of my Granddad. He loved to whistle and I can remember following him around as a kid while he whistled “Farther along we’ll know more about it, farther along we’ll understand why …” Occasionally I’ll find myself whistling the song and thinking about Granddad. Thanks for the memory!

  2. Terry Taylor

    In her book “Loving Someone with Dementia,” Pauline Boss says, “We can live with grief easier when we don’t try so hard to get over it.” For me, the ability to be at peace with life’s loose ends is a gift from God because I believe in His goodness, even when I don’t understand it. Thank you for this post, Nan!