James 1: 17— Every good and perfect gift comes from the Creator of the universe, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I know if you are aware of or use the Pandora music service, which is a kind of radio station (complete with commercials for the free version) for computers. Once you’ve logged on to the website, you can enter the name of a musical artist, a song, a group or a type of music to create a station that will play that song and similar songs from singers and instrumentalists of the same ilk. I believe you can create as many stations as you want, but I have sixty-eight stations ranging from an Easy Listening station to ones featuring Gordon Lightfoot, Josh Groban, Enya, and even Coldplay and the Stone Temple Pilots. I think the Pandora gremlins put those last two on, because I had no idea who they were, and when I listened to them, I decided I didn’t want to know any more about them.

It would take me four hours to listen to even one selection from each station, and I would have to get out from what I was doing to change the station and get little done aside from doing that. I discovered something called The Thumbprint Radio station, which plays selections from all my stations at random, allowing me to listen to something from each station after a long while. Coldplay and the Stone Temple Pilots occasionally show up, but I quickly hit the “thumbs down” icon every time they come on. Somehow they keep coming on, like wounded buffalos. I suppose I could delete them, but that would require remembering to do so, and I haven’t done that yet.

Anyhow, I think I have fairly wide-ranging musical tastes and can at least tolerate most styles and artists, with the exception of grand opera, progressive jazz, a lot of barbershop, too much bluegrass, and most any drum solo. The list of what I do like far outruns what I don’t like, and I think that’s a good thing.

With Thumbprint Radio, I never know what’s coming next, and, as I said, I like most of it. About every twentieth song, I have to give it the thumbs down of destruction, even if it means that that sort of song or artist will come back again. Pandora tells me that if I hit the button enough, that type of music will be banished to wherever songs that I don’t like go, and never come back. However, I’ve been using the service for about seven years, and it hasn’t happened yet. I sound like I don’t have enough to complain about, so I’ve chosen this. Actually, I’m very pleased to have a musical background while I’m sitting at the computer writing articles, novels, poems and, yes, devotionals. The music masks extraneous and random noises that might otherwise distract me from my artist endeavors, and seems to make the process go more smoothly. It’s all good, for the most part, as I told you.

I think God is, in some small way, like the Pandora service, except every gift from the Creator is a good one, as the scripture says. And we never know what blessing or gift is coming, or exactly when it might arrive. I think this keeps us in a state of hopeful expectation as we await the coming again of a gift we have already received, that of Jesus Christ as our redeemer and friend. Praise the Creator for all the gifts God has so richly blessed us with, at the most unexpected times and in the most unlikely circumstances. Amen


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