Friday, November 14, 2008

The Hammered Dulcimer

It seems like every day we hear more bad economic news. I can't help but worry about what the future holds. This last week has been a slow week at my business. It is not unusual for there to be a slow week, but when I hear nothing but bad economic news, it makes me wonder. As I have been praying about the financial situation. I have been reminded of the way God has taken care of me in the past. One particular instance came to mind, and I thought I would share it with you.

Several years ago our family made a trip to Branson Missouri to meet my sister and her family. We had a delightful weekend, enjoying everything except the Branson traffic. We especially enjoyed going to Silver Dollar City.

While we were at Silver Dollar City we listened to traditional mountain music. I like to listen to mountain instruments, especially the hammered dulcimer. There were vendors there selling instruments, and I stopped at one of the booths to look at the hammered dulcimers. The salesman showed me the different dulcimers that he had, and assured me that with the materials he had I would be able to learn to play. In the excitement of the moment, I purchased the hammered dulcimer.

When I returned home, I got the new hammered dulcimer out and tried to play it. Somehow I just couldn't get the hang of it. I watched the video that the salesman had included. I still couldn't make music. All I could make was horrendous noise. I read the book that came with the instrument but it didn't seem to help. I came to realize that I just wasn't musically talented. I would probably never be a hammered dulcimer player. The brand new hammered dulcimer with its zippered case and its wooden stand were put in the closet. The only time I thought about them was when they got in my way as I was trying to get something out of the closet.

Like many other families in the Mena area, our family didn't have a great year financially. Among other things, our heat pump was struck by lightening and the compressor had to be replaced. As I was thinking about how I was going to pay for the new heat pump, that hammered dulcimer came to mind. I wondered if I could sell it. I thought about selling it on ebay, but I never got around to it.

One day on an impulse I called the swap shop at noon on KENA radio and listed the hammered dulcimer. I had heard a lot of unusual things for sale on the swap shop, but never a hammered dulcimer. The day went by and I did not receive any calls about the dulcimer. I thought to myself, I didn't really think anyone would call.

That night there was another small crisis at home. The washing machine wasn't working properly. I don't know about your house, but at my house that was a crisis. Where were we going to get the money to pay for the repairs? We hadn't recovered from replacing the heat pump. Call a repairman I told my wife, we have to get the washing machine fixed. That night we prayed that God would help us out of this financial problem.

The next day about noon I received a call from Waldron. The caller asked, "Do you have a hammered dulcimer for sale? I have been looking for one for my daughter and a friend told me they had heard one for sale on the radio." I assured her that I did, and made arrangements to meet her to show her the dulcimer. When she saw the instrument she gave me my asking price immediately. It was almost exactly the amount that the repairman needed for fixing the washing machine.

As the buyer was leaving I told her, "I don't know if you are a Christian or not, but I have to tell you something." I was so excited by how God was taking care of my financial problem that I had to tell her the whole story of the dulcimer and the washing machine. After I had told her the story, she replied, "I am a Christian, and I have to tell you a story. My daughter has wanted a hammered dulcimer for some time. I have been to several music stores, but the cost of a hammered dulcimer is more than we can afford. My daughter has been praying that God would help her find a dulcimer she could afford. I told her that used ones were very hard to find, but she continued to pray. Finding this dulcimer at a reasonable price is an answer to our prayers."

I stood there stunned as I realized that the great God that we serve had answered the prayers of two families that day. In Philippians 4:6 it says "Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks."

My friend Richie Owens wrote a song that always gives me comfort. In the video below he sings "All Things Work Together".


  1. Absolutely stunning!!! In Portugal, we have a popular saying that describes this kind of situation, something like «God closes a door but immediatelly opens a window»!!!!

    Great post, Thank you!!!!

  2. What a thoughtful parable. In times like these, we really do need to look out for one another and be thankful for our good fortune, however it finds us!

  3. What a wonderful story, Richie! I love dulcimer music in the video.:)

  4. Great story of redemption!

    And glad you son is going into teaching rather than broadcast - probably a better eternal use of his skills.

  5. Praise the Lord! (I learned to say that in my six years in Arkansas.) In fact, there were many such "coincidences" happening there, as I remember.
    I learned to listen to mountain music at a once-a-month get together of folk musicians in Little Rock. I can understand your wanting to play the dulcimer.
    Yeah, scarecrows are getting scarce here too. I just walked down to the monastery and found that the one I had posted is gone.

  6. G'day from Australia, Richard. Yes, God was in charge of the situation and He appointed you ``caretaker'' of the dulcimer until the right moment.

  7. I love this story! It gave me chills! God is so amazing and always in control. He cares about our washing machines, our commutes, our friends that have strokes....everything. I love Him and I am so excited to go to church in a few minutes and workship him!

  8. How amazing is our God...we owe all have have and ever hope to have to His Grace. This was such a beautiful proof of His existence, it brought tears to my eyes.

  9. It's trite, but true, "God works in mysterious ways." I wonder, though, why we humans continue to be surprised when things such as this happen?

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  10. Second post I have read that has made me cry today! Thank you so much for sharing. I have a small business, and I don't know where so many of the customers have gone, but it has not been through my door. I have sat down this morning to pay as many bills as I can, or least a portion. And I have prayed, and now I have read some beautiful testimonies of God's blessings and timings!

    Thanks again!

    Oh, and congrats on making David's list ...perfect!

  11. Your story made me very happy.

  12. Lightning hit your heater pump? What are the chances of that?
    Thank you for sharing this story. I so love how God does that. He is such a creative author and artist. He knows the things that are going to happen and He takes delight in working them in a way that make us collide with one another in awe.

  13. Yes, its true all things do work together........
    So glad that your needs were met.

  14. what a lovely story. I am in constant awe of how things happen the way they are intended to, and needed a reminder of that today. Thanks you