Almost one year ago, the world came to an abrupt halt. Shelter in place? Air droplets? What’s a Zoom, and how does that work? If you know me at all, you know I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming so I can prepare for it. Organization and order are my thing. Well, God rocked me to the core this year. A pandemic is something one cannot organize, especially when there are no disinfecting wipes to be found!
On more than one occasion in the past year, I have asked myself this question- If everything I have or love was taken from me, and all I had left was Jesus, would He be enough? Would HE be enough? In my flesh, I have to admit that last March, I would have said, “No.” There were so many questions, uncertainty, and loss to process quickly. There was no clarity about what the future held. But over the course of the year, the Lord in His faithfulness has used this awful year to draw me close to Him, to help me let go, to stop planning and rest, and to restore to me the joy of my salvation.
The thing is, when we’ve run out of patience, we can be overwhelmed by disappointments. When everything we believe we have to have to be happy is taken away, and we come to the end of ourselves…there is Jesus! The amazing thing is, when we finally run to Jesus, He could say, “You thought you were doing just fine handling things on your own, but now that everything is falling apart, why should I be there for you?” But He doesn’t. He has every right to condemn me for my short-sightedness and arrogance, but thankfully that’s not who He is. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” John 3:17. And, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” Luke 19:10.
Sometime in January, the Lord revealed to me that my prayers and trust had become very small. I had been so used to lowering my expectations this past year. Maybe if I don’t want or ask for much, then I won’t be disappointed, right? Then the Lord gave me a challenge- What are the big things I am trusting God for? To hope is a big thing. To trust God with something big is risky. When we pray for something big, it can feel like we are gambling on an outcome, but nothing God does is the result of chance. God is not rolling the dice to decide what will happen and who it will affect. God is the ultimate planner, and what He brings into my life, He ordains for my good even when the outcome is really hard. God said, “What are you trusting me for? OK, pray to that end!”
After losing the opportunity to perform the show last year, I thought long and hard about whether we should attempt to do one this year. There was so much uncertainty in August as to what this school year would be like. I came to school every day feeling like we were “splitting the atom.” We were making decisions about how to do things we’ve never done before. Then the “What if’s” began in my mind. What if ___ happens? What if ___ doesn’t happen? And my anxiety rose. And then my pastor challenged us to flip the “What if?” to “Even if.” Even if ___, God is faithful, loving, and trustworthy. Those words gave me the push I needed and the reassurance to know that I could move forward every day, splitting as many atoms as God saw fit to bring my way!
This is what the Love of God does for us poor, miserable, short-sighted, and sometimes arrogant people! God’s ways are not our ways, and His path is often not the path we would choose, but the reality is the harder the journey, the greater the gift, and the greater the glory for God.
Guys and Dolls was the perfect choice for our show this year because we needed to have a fun, feel-good story to tell after the pain of last year and because one of the show's themes centers on the lengths one will go to for love. What God has shown over and over this past year is that we have an amazing Savior! There is nothing stronger than the Love of God! And because of that love and the lengths to which our Savior was willing to go, our debt is paid. To use a concept from the show, Jesus is the ultimate "marker"- His death pays my debt in full. And because of His great love for us, we walk in forgiveness, freedom, and hope. I’ve got Jesus; how could I want more?
Guys and Dolls will be performed on stage at Casa Manana Theater March 12-14. Tickets are available at the CCA website/Arts/Spring Musical.