Well, it wasn't a secret among those of us who were at the final rehearsal for the children's Christmas program on Saturday. Things were not going well.
Two of the actors had sore throats, one of them a main character. Children forgot their lines. They weren't standing where they had been told to stand. They were singing with less gusto. They still weren't speaking up or facing the audience. We had kinks with the sound system to work out. The actors in the play were frustrated and still working on their lines. Children were misbehaving and caused one teacher to lose it. Not that she was alone in that. Who could really blame her? We were all feeling the pressure.
The final practice for the program has always been a pressure cooker because... This is it! We have to be ready. For some reason, this one was the most difficult I have ever experienced. I was going through my own personal issues, and having a head cold didn't help matters. Tears came to my eyes as I sat at the piano and observed it all. I wasn't the only one, either.
At the snack break the Lord reminded me that... we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) It was not about misbehaving children or frustrated actors at all. It was about a battle being raged in the spiritual realm.
There is one who would not like to have seen our program succeed because of our message - adoption into the family of God. That one is Satan. We have an enemy, and it was evident that his hosts were busily working to take us down.
But God has overcome the evil one.
Last night as the lights went down and the program began, I think we each may have taken a collective breath. Then something amazing happened. The children were remembering their lines. They stood where they had been told to. They sang loudly. All the actors were present, sore throats and all, and delivered their lines to the sheer enjoyment of the audience, even if they did need a few prompts.
We were enjoying the moment.
Best of all, the gospel was presented in a most touching way, and it was evident God was there. It made my month of Sundays, with all the aches and tiredness I experienced with it, all melt away. It was worth it.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)