In music theory, the term dissonance is used to describe when the notes in a chord clash, creating an almost unpleasant sound. Dissonance is used in music to express discord, strife, and quarreling. The resolution then expresses harmony, and a restoration of what was in conflict.
The promises of God in His Word, promises like, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 often strike a dissonant chord when set counter to what is being experienced in life. After all, how can plans to prosper, plans for a future filled with hope stand in harmony with the reality of, for instance, an incurable cancer? How can the Lord promise good, yet what is lived is anything but?
The cause of the discord is not the promise of the Word. Rather, it is our own sin. When struck along with the pure notes of God’s Word, the tone of our sin clashes with the perfect music of God. When we see as good may just be what our own sinful nature wants, rather than the good and gracious will of the Lord for us.
The story of the Exodus of God’s people from slavery in Egypt to the battle of Jericho is one of dissonance. God’s people, the ones who experienced His mighty arm at the Red Sea, His generous provision of Manna in the tactless waste continues to grumble and complain. Nothing God did was good enough for them. Sadly, they longed to return to the slavery of the Egyptians, for the freedom of God, given in His love was too much.
And so, when they found themselves in a waterless waste, instead of faith that clings to the provision of God, they again put the Lord to the test. Even so, even as they mistrusted the Lord, He gave.
So it is for you. Even though you may live in what seems to be a waterless waste, even as you put God to the test, His baptism for you stands firm and true. By the Word and water, you have been given faith to trust in the forgiveness of Jesus, whose cross resolves the dissonance, and whose blood brings your life into harmony with the God of your salvation.