A few of you have asked for copies of “The Mice in the Piano,” a short little story I read Wednesday night as an illustration to a lesson I was teaching on 1 Samuel 26. God had put Saul and Abner and 3,000 well-trained soldiers into a deep sleep which allowed David and Abishai to sneak undetected through the camp all the way to the King’s sleeping bag. It appears that David had no idea God had done that. The information comes to the reader from the author almost as an aside. It’s just between us. God was personally and intimately involved in what David was doing, whether David knew about it or not. “The Mice in the Piano” illustrates that. It also serves as a perfect follow-up to yesterday’s post about the new efforts of athiests in the United States to portray themselves as normal and loving and kind and happy and everywhere.
Think about David as you read this short story. But think, too, about Doug Krueger, the athiest quoted in yesterday’s post who says, “We’re just regular people who have perfectly satisfactory lives without believing in God.”
Imagine a family of mice who live all their lives inside a large piano, just as you and I live our lives in our fragment of the universe. To the mice in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. The mice were much impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was a Someone who made the music—invisible to them, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see.
Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the inside of the piano and returned to the colony very thoughtful. He had discovered how the music was made. Wires were the secret—tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths that trembled and vibrated. Now the mice must revise all their old beliefs. None but the most conservative could believe any longer in the Unseen Player.
Years later, another explorer mouse came back with still further explanations. Hammers were the secret; numbers of hammers leaping and dancing on the wires to produce the beautiful sounds. This was certainly a more complicated theory than the one their forefathers knew. But it proved they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be regarded as a myth.
And the pianist continued to play.