Lessons from the Theater, Part One

For those reading Lisa Harper’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, along with my small group, today’s devotional will match up with her thirteenth chapter, “Putting Down the Pen.”

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It was January when the director called me and asked me to work on the music for a November production of Hello, Dolly!  She was planning that far in advance.

Now it’s November and the past few weeks for my husband, who was in the show, and for me, supporting behind the scenes, were busy and exciting, rewarding, hectic and a whole lot of fun.  But it’s done.  The curtain closed. The final bows taken.  The set stashed away in pieces.

Still I have theater on the brain.  So, this week, I’m sharing some devotional thoughts borne out of the long involvement with a great show.

Lesson One: God Will Complete Your Story

For the characters in a story like Hello, Dolly!, the happy ending is assured from the beginning.  When they sing that final song, everyone has their job, their love, their relationships restored and their future seems assured of success and happiness.

They do, after all, live happily ever after.

For us, though, the easy resolution to all the conflict in our story may seem elusive.  It doesn’t always appear like the Author of our life is wrapping it all up with a nice tidy bow.  And it sure does take a lot longer than two hours to fix all of our life’s crises.

In fact, so much of the time we might feel like we’re in stasis.

I’ve felt this way recently.  It seems like so many of the areas of my life are in some holding pattern.  Just waiting.  Waiting for an answer, a provision, a direction, a progression.  Waiting for God to shout, “Voila” and finally reveal what’s behind the curtain.

Maybe you’ve also felt impatient for the resolution to your story.  Maybe you’ve felt uncertain that God is ever going to fulfill your desires, provide answers, or allow you to move on.

In fact, it’s easy to begin feeling like God started writing your story and then abandoned you for other projects.

Yet, God’s Word promises us that God, “who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

While ultimately our final curtain call doesn’t come until we’re standing before Christ in heaven, He’s carrying us “on to completion” every step of the way.  Even when we feel like we’re standing still or taking two steps back, He’s really moving us forward.

So, when we feel the hopelessness of a bleak unpromising future, we can remember that God doesn’t intend to abandon any of us along the journey.  He doesn’t grow bored with our progress and forget to complete our story.  Instead, He declares, “I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”  (Jeremiah 29:11).

That’s why when God met Hagar out in the wilderness after she ran away from her abusive mistress, He didn’t just ask her where she came from. Instead, He asked, “where have you come from, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8).

From the beginning of His conversation with her, He showed vested interest in her future destination.  Abandoning her out in the wilderness was never His intention.  So, He directed her steps, told her to return home, and promised her blessing in the birth of her son, Ishmael.

He promised her a hope and a future.

In the same way, when God called out to Moses from the burning bush to talk about the oppression of Israel as slaves, He said, “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).

God didn’t just intend to rescue them and then leave them to their own devices.  “You’re free!  Now happy life!”

Oh no, from the beginning of the Exodus story, God clearly told Moses that they were headed out of Egypt so they could travel to the Promised Land.

God had a plans for Israel, plans to give them a very specific hope and a future.

For Abraham, the destination of the Promised Land was the same, but God didn’t give him all the details in advance.  “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you'” (Genesis 12:1).

Yet, even though Abraham didn’t know the final destination in advance, he could be assured of one thing.  God had a plan. There was the promise from the beginning that God had a land in mind just for Abraham and his family.

In her study, The Patriarchs, Beth Moore notes: “When He tells us to leave one place as He told Abram, He has another place for us to go.  God may not reveal the destination for a while, but we can rest assured we’re never called out without being called to” (p. 15).

If He’s called you out, He’s called you to a place of promise.  And He’ll be faithful to complete your story, carrying you forward on this journey even when you can’t tell you’re moving.  That’s because He has a plan to give you a hope and a future.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

5 thoughts on “Lessons from the Theater, Part One

  1. Anne Rhodes says:

    My sister’s favorite saying is “Everything for a reason,” but somewhere recently I saw the second half of that saying that goes something like, “…but God doesn’t always show us the reason.”

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