I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I can see God the clearest when I’m on stage. Just a few weeks ago, Enspire performed The Journey: The Love of the Guardian at the Keene Camp Meeting, and I had the honor to be able to act in it. And, just like he likes to do, God showed up in a big way.
I know there are plenty of examples of God blessing those performances, and if you asked any other member of the cast and crew they would have their own stories to tell you, too. Here is mine.
We had a day long practice on Monday of performance week, then we had Tuesday off, then we would be back at it all day on Wednesday for the first act that night. I woke up Tuesday morning with a horribly scratchy throat. Attributing it to all the screaming and constant talking I had to do the day before, I didn’t think much of it. I drank some tea and ate some cough drops. No big deal, right?
Wrong. Big deal. At least, for me.
By Wednesday morning, the day of the first performance, my throat was still causing me a lot of pain, and it was even getting worse. I don’t know for sure, but my theory is that something in the Texas air was giving me weird allergies (I live in Michigan, so I’m not used to whatever was in the air). My throat was hurting horribly, but I didn’t feel sick, I wasn’t losing my voice, and I didn’t really have congestion. It just hurt to talk.
So, I prayed and prayed, as one does when you’re not feeling well and you have to go on stage and project in mere hours. I prayed for God to take the pain away, even if it was just during that one hour of performance. Meanwhile I kept popping garlic cloves like they were candy, drinking tea, and trying super weird concoctions that my Journey family suggested. I am now an expert on natural cold remedies.
And, wouldn’t you know it, about half an hour before the performance, I started feeling better. I praised God because he was faithful. My scratchy throat didn’t get in the way of his message.
Then, after the performance the pain came back full force.
It was like this the entire week. I would be borderline miserable throughout the day, taking Tylenol like nobody’s business and driving Coker crazy by “saving my voice” instead of projecting during practice. All the while I was praying again and again for God to give me my voice for the performance. Then, half an hour before the performance, all the way through about half an hour after the performance, I would feel great! Then, the pain would return and the process started all over again.
But God got me through every single performance, and I would do it all over again even if it had to be the same way.
There are two main things that I learned during that week of Love of the Guardian. First, God showed up when I asked him to and when I did my part. I’m not saying God wouldn’t have helped me out even if I hadn’t asked him, but I’m a firm believer that prayer allows God to work in ways unprecedented. I also think the results might have been different if I hadn’t done everything in my power to keep my voice healthy. I did what I could and let God do the rest. And he went above and beyond what I ever imagined.
Second, God gave me what I needed, not what I wanted. Around the third night of this weird cycle, the thought occurred to me that, since God was clearly able to help my throat out during the performance, he would have been able to just take away the pain entirely. But, then, where would the faith be in that? If my sore throat had gone away the first night and not returned, would I have even thought to rely so heavily on God during the performance? Probably not as much as I ended up doing. I wanted to just feel great the whole time. I needed a constant reminder that I can’t actually do anything on my own.
After the last performance, my voice completely shot out, laryngitis style, and I sounded pretty squeaky for another week, but I didn’t care. I just kept thinking of 2 Corinthians 12:10, “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.”
Stephanie Wilczynski has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. She is pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Andrews University.