Children stood in a curved line on a festively decorated stage. Boys looked dashing in their dress pants and button up shirts; girls sparkled in satin, glitter, and lace. Many hours of practice had brought them to this point…lyrics and melodies had been learned, lines of dialogue had been memorized. Now the performance of their Christmas musical was here.
As the concert progressed, the time came for one adorable little girl to step up to the microphone and deliver her line. She held back, bashful and shy to step forward. The director coaxed her forward; she hesitantly took two tiny baby steps. The director whispered her first few words to help her start. Looking ever so coy, she hesitantly let the words come from her mouth.
“Glory to God in the highest…”
Her face started to crumple as fear revealed itself in her eyes.
Her precious face scrunched up into a full-fledged cry as fear overwhelmed her. She never finished, “…to men on whom His favor rests.”
Our pastor, watching from the front pew, was the closest adult. He hurried on to the stage, rescued the terrified girl, and took her to sit with him in the pew. Within moments, her mama had made her way to the front of the sanctuary to finish the rescue of the poor girl.
Meanwhile, the director offered words of comfort from afar and helped the rest of the young children continue with the next song. For a moment, the whole choir appeared as if they might burst out in tears. Under calm leadership, however, they kept it together and started singing Angels We Have Heard on High.
She wasn’t the only one who faced adversity during that performance. As I watched – entranced by the simple beauty of their performance, amazed by their strength to continue on – I thought about all the things we as adults could learn from these children.
Sometimes we get scared
This story of the little girl reminds us that we all get scared sometimes. Situations, opportunities, and problems loom in front of us with every bit as much intimidation as an audience awaiting a memorized line. We get scared. We need the comfort of a familiar friend and the confident leadership of a director to keep our show going.
Sometimes we don't know what to do
While some of the older kids knew to sing their songs and recite their lines, some of the younger kids only stood there throughout the performance. They did a fabulous job at being cute. But when a situation, opportunity, or problem is new to us, we stand there like the kids. We don’t know what to do. We need the example of someone who’s been there a few times to keep our show going.
Sometimes we mess up
Even as an older child, one little boy messed up on his solo in one song. Can’t really blame him, though – even the director messed up on the lyrics she lip-synced along to help him keep on track. It doesn’t matter if our experience in the show is a few years or a few decades, we all mess up situations, opportunities, or problems sometimes. We need the grace to say, “Sorry, I messed up. Let’s try that again from the beginning” so we can keep our show going.
And that’s the point
We keep going. Our life isn't a show; it's real. Part of the reality of it is we don’t give up. All of us as God’s children work together providing comfort, leadership, a positive example, and grace until He returns and says we're done.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).