…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

In All Our Trials, Born to be Our Friend

Observations and Inspiration from Music and Scripture

By Eric Chaffey


Adolphe Adam

I’ve had a lot of anxiety and depression lately. Sometimes it seems the loneliness and longing can be overwhelming. However I have found a lot of comfort and encouragement in an unlikely place. 

I just recently started singing in a choir called the Valley Choral Society, and our rehearsal space is in a funeral home. It is an interfaith choir and orchestra based in Sacramento. I found out about it from someone at a ward I’ve been attending lately. Among other reasons why I wanted to be a part of this choir was the fact that they perform parts of Handel’s Messiah every year at Christmas time. In some other choirs I’ve associated with they didn’t want to do Messiah because everyone else is doing it. In reality the number of choirs doing it around here is pretty small as far as I’ve been able to observe. I’ve always loved this particular work. I’ve had occasion to sing it as well as participate as part of an orchestra. On more than one occasion participating in a performance of Messiah proved to be a great avenue of healing.

In the Valley Choral Society, we are doing the first of three parts as well as the Hallelujah chorus. The first part of Messiah is the part that focuses on the prophesies of the coming of Christ as well as the nativity and his ministry. The second part is about the atonement, and the resurrection. A couple of weeks ago in rehearsal we sang the Hallelujah chorus. It was both a little ironic and at the same time I found it very touching that we were singing this wonderful piece of music about the resurrection in a funeral home. It was a little ironic, but at the same time uniquely appropriate. The passing of a loved one is a sad occasion, but the hope of rising again in the resurrection is a blessed comfort. I think the fact that it was year to the day that my father passed away was a part of the reason why I found it particularly meaningful.

In addition to Messiah, we are working on various other Christmas music. One of the selections we did last night is one that I’ve always loved. O Holy Night, is one that I’ve sung and played countless times over the years. In the arrangement of it that we are doing, the tenors sing the melody in the second verse. But that second verse was particularly meaningful to me and had a profound impact. Particularly the middle of that verse which says, “The King of Kings, lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger…” Even writing it now it brings tears to my eyes. That was the message last night that I really needed. He Does know our need and is an eternal friend and comforter in times of trial.

I’ve written previously about various storms of life that seem prevalent. In addition to the music of this last month, another place of strength has been in the scriptures. I am reminded of the Savior’s role as comforter and friend in a passage from Revelation Chapter 7:

9] After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10] And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11] And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12] Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

13] And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14] And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15] Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16] They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17]For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

How grateful I am for His never ending love, mercy and compassion. Whether through the scriptures, or music or beloved friends, he truly does know my needs and longings, and brings comfort.

Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) - Medium Low
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Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) – Medium Low
(Medium Low Voice (in C) and Piano). By Adolphe-Charles Adam (1803-1856). Edited by Carl Deis. For medium low voice solo and piano accompaniment. Vocal Solo. Christmas, Classical Period and Sacred. Difficulty: medium. Single piece. Vocal melody, lyrics and piano accompaniment. 7 pages. G. Schirmer #ST38623. Published by G. Schirmer (HL.50281510)Smp_stars50
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2 Responses to “In All Our Trials, Born to be Our Friend”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    Wonderful, Eric! Whether singing Handel’s Messiah or O Holy Night!, I always feel this wonderful sense of peace come over me.

    About 12 years ago, while living in Columbus, Ohio, a regional LDS choir was asked to perform at a mall. The director asked me to sing O Holy Night as a solo. I was pretty scared. A chapel is one thing. A bustling Christmas mall quite another.

    When the time for my solo came, I noticed that a very large group of African Americans showed up in choir robes. They were next. I thought, “Oh, no! This isn’t exactly their kind of music.”

    I pictured singing my solo and it being answered with stares of disdain. Yet, throughout, they were smiling. My prejudices left me thinking they were smiling because they thought it was ridiculous. When I hit the high note, they burst into applause.

    When we made way for them on the risers, I got lots of pats on the back and handshakes. I don’t think the style of music matters as much as the message.

    On a side note, it really wasn’t their style of music. They had big amplifiers and sang very loud. It was way cool, but the mall shut them down because store owners were complaining that they couldn’t hear their customers. I thought it was sad. It was an impasse. The choir director wanted the entire mall to hear their music. The mall wanted to please the store owners. I wished they could have compromised. I love that kind of music. I guess I found out that they loved my kind of music too.

  2. Eric Chaffey said:

    Thanks Rex, I appreciate you sharing that. Thanks also for the picture of Adolph Adam. I never knew before what he looked like. Love you my friend.

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