Several years ago while I was a member of a service club I had the opportunity to be in their annual play which we did as a fundraiser for the local theater. It was a first for me. I had always wanted to be on stage but never had the courage. I can’t say I had much more courage as an adult but I managed to show up at try outs and if you showed up you got a part.
It was a small part and I was grateful for that. I knew the other actors fairly well and it was nice to be a part of a team. After four months of preparation our performance weekend finally came. We did five shows in 4 days. It was good. For the most part we remembered our lines and the audience seemed to laugh in all the right places. All the preparation had paid off. It was fun and exhausting.
I share that with you only because the Lord brought it to my mind this past week. I’ve been given some new responsibilities recently and the list seems to be growing. Most of it is at work, but there are new responsibilities in other areas of my life as well. With each new thing I felt the weight of the burden I was carrying increase. Like the proverbial frog in a slow boiling pot I seemed to get used to the burden, not noticing it much until I found getting out of bed in the morning was becoming a real chore. I know that sounds a little like depression but having been through that I can honestly say that wasn’t the case. I just felt paralyzed by my circumstances. I felt like the burden around me was just too heavy.
Then I remembered the play. The Lord reminded me, I had one role. My words had been scripted. The scenes had been written. My marks had been placed on the stage for me to hit. I had rehearsals to be at and performances to give. I was a part of a team that was telling a story and I had a unique purpose in the story we were telling.
I want to be clear that I believe in free choice. I don’t believe God hands us a script on the day we’re born, taps us on the behind and says, “Break a leg, kid!” as He plunges us onto the world’s stage. We have choices to make every day and we are free to make those choices, good or bad. And yet, there is some kind of beautiful and delicate dance we do with the Lord throughout our lifetime, discovering His will for our lives and seeking ways in which we can walk in that will. It may not be as cut and dried as a scripted play in our experience, but somehow it is in His. He knows every choice we make before we make it. He knows every word out of our mouths before we speak it. He knows our struggles, our pains; what is difficult for us to do and what comes easy. He knows every scene, every plot twist, every ad-lib, and the final act. He knows it all! And He’s placed us specifically on a “stage” with other “actors” where we can use our gifts to glorify Him and bring His love to others. He doesn’t hand us script, but He promises us a role in His Greatest Story ever told.
It’s like the book of Esther. The story is too much to write in a blog post but GO READ IT! It is an amazing story and it reads just like a play. But did you know that it is the only book of the Bible where God is not mentioned? God is not one of the vivid characters IN the story, but He is very clearly behind every scene directing every action.
SPOILER ALERT: Ultimately Queen Esther is the one given the responsibility to save the entire Jewish race from annihilation but she must risk her life in order to do it. Her wise uncle Mordecai says to her, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) What Mordecai is saying is, “Esther, here is your role. If you don’t take it God will provide someone else to save His people. But, THIS, this may be why you have been given this role – for such a time as this – to save your people.”
With each new responsibility I’ve been given lately I lost sight of the bigger picture. I have known with each added responsibility that God was behind it. If I doubted that perhaps I would need to reevaluate my workload but that is not the case. I know God has orchestrated what He has in my life. What I forgot, was that He was in charge, directing every scene. I had just one role to play.
In addition to remembering my experience with the play, the words of Mordecai echoed in my mind this week. I could chose to walk away from it all and God will raise up someone else to accomplish what He wants to accomplish. Or, I can believe that for such a time as this I’ve been called to have a few more responsibilities for a purpose I may not know yet, but one that will bring Him glory and show others His love.
This reminder really changed my outlook and I am so grateful. The responsibilities that felt like a burden too heavy to bear have suddenly turned into a lightweight covering floating over me shielding me from the elements of my circumstances. I am making a conscious choice to walk under that covering knowing that my role has a purpose in the story He is telling. I may not know with clarity yet what that is, but someday I will. For now I am content to accept the one role He has given me.
Lord, thank you for having a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. Thank you for placing us on the “stage” that you have for such a time as this. Help us to walk in that role you have designed, looking to you, our Director, for grace, wisdom, and assurance. May we always bring you glory and show others your great love for them. In Jesus’ name, amen