Lessons from the Theater, Part Two

This week, I’m sharing devotional thoughts based on my time working on a community theater production of Hello, Dolly! 

You can read Lessons from the Theater: Part One here.

Lesson Two: Trust the Director

It was a large rectangular piece of butcher paper on the floor of a studio.

The director said it was a door.

As the actors rehearsed their scene, they went around the door, behind the door, in front of the door—anywhere and everywhere except walking “through” it.

“Use the door!!,” the director exclaimed.

But the door was a piece of paper until just weeks before the performance when the cast was suddenly rehearsing on the actual stage and the piece of paper was replaced by  . . . a wooden door that opened and closed.

So it was during weeks of rehearsals.  The director said, “There will be a table.  You can put it down there.  That’s where the cash register will be so walk over there.”

For months, the cast performed actions, moved across the stage, and used invisible props all because the director told them, “This is where it’s going to be.  This is what’s going to happen.”

And they had to trust her.

So it is with us.  Our Director tells us to step here, walk there, and do this, and in so many cases, we don’t see the purpose or the ultimate design.  We have to trust Him anyway.

Not only that, but when we’re living out obedient lives, sometimes we don’t see God’s activity at all, at least not right away and maybe not even after a long, frustrating season of waiting.

During those weeks of rehearsing with no props, no set, and no costumes, the actors could have assumed it would last forever and that they’d walk on an empty stage on opening night in their street clothes.

Yet, behind the scenes, there was a bustle of activity.  A costume designer and her team measuring, shopping, and sewing.  A prop master searching for the perfect hat box and a mannequin.  A set designer and master set builder with a crew of helping hands to construct, paint, and dress two stores, a New York street and a fancy restaurant.

Behind the scenes, our God is at work on our behalf even when we can’t see the evidence.  Then, at just the right moment, He provides for our need and unveils the completed design He’s been working on all along.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

On looking back we see the presence of an amazing design.  If we are born of God we will see His guiding hand and give Him the credit . . .  Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere.”

It’s in retrospect that we see God’s glory in our circumstances.  Just like Moses, we see God’s glory as He passes by.

Moses entered the most holy place of God’s presence on that sacred mountain and with inexplicable boldness, he asked God to “show me your glorious presence” (Exodus 34:18).

Mortal and plagued with sin as we are, we can’t see God’s face.  We can’t take in the fullness of His glory without falling dead at His feet.

Yet, God told Moses, “As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand and let you see me from behind.  But my face will not be seen” (Exodus 34:22-23).

What if we’re staring at our surroundings, straining to see God and we see nothing?  No sign of His presence.  No hint of His favor or blessing.  No indication of his design.

Perhaps He has hidden you in the crevice of a rock and covered your face with His hand.

Then when He has moved in all His glory, we will look again and see where God has been.  We will see what He has done by the trail of His presence.

So, what do we do in the meantime when His glory is invisible to us and we remain blind to His activity?

We are to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12).

It takes faith to trust that if the Director says to move here, we go, even if we don’t understand the reason.  It takes patience to wait for further instruction and for the revelation of His glory.

Months ago I wrote about Naaman, the powerful army commander for King Aram, who had leprosy and expected Elijah to heal him.  When Elijah sent a messenger with the instructions to bathe in the Jordan River seven times, Naaman was furious.

Yet, after blustering about the foolishness of it all and complaining about how ridiculous it was, Naaman obeyed.

After my post, a friend reminded me of an important lesson—Naaman had to obey without giving up.  He had to dip down in that river again and again, never seeing the healing until the seventh time he ducked his head down in obedience.

At any moment, he could have said, “this clearly isn’t working,” and walked away with the leprosy still ravaging his body.

But because he obeyed completely and awaited the appointed time, God showed up in His glory and healed him.

Like the actors rehearsing without props and without a set, we move where God says to move.  We do what He tells us to do.  We trust our Director’s vision and instruction, and we do it with faith and patience, obeying without giving up, just as Naaman did.  We might not see the point of it all, and yet we obey with anticipation, knowing that we will see God’s glory as He passes by.

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.

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