Practice went very well. Other than the fact that performance was the next morning, and this was the first we had practiced together...let alone at all...we were able to get a pretty good feel for what we were aiming for and how to make it happen. The song was beautiful. A vocal solo accompanied with piano and violin, it was sure to hit the mark and speak a message of hope and comfort to the listeners. We recorded the last run through for reference, then enjoyed a little chit-chat before parting ways for the evening.
The next morning, arriving bright and early for the sound-check, we began to play it through. Everything was going well until half way through when all of a sudden the mode changed and something just didn't sound right ~ almost as though one of us was playing in a different key even. Being the violinist, I checked my music, quickly scribbled out the day before, to make sure I was still playing the correct notation. It was in an unfamiliar key with six sharps, but that shouldn't be the problem seeing I was still right on according to what was written. I quickly tried to scan the vocalist's part, not quite sure what was going on, but she was still moving forward and a little confused as well. The pianist, with calmness of demeanor and quick-wittedness worked to return to the written order of chords, and after a couple measures of "recalculation in route" met back up in the original chord progression just in time for the first key change. The rest of the soundcheck went alright, and we were able to end on a good note. But we definitely needed to run through it again and correct the mis-hap before it was time to present it...
In the back room, after a few other scheduled practices, we got together again to iron out anything that might be a "tripping hazard" during performance. And the most recent encounter was the first topic to be brought up. "What happened on the second verse?" I asked. The pianist replied in a humored, but self-corrective way, "I never do good for sound checks. But my pride got in the way and I got lost. It works like this, I sit down and think, 'I got this', then along with all the extra activity that is happening during that time, I get distracted which makes me lose my place."
His comment struck a very familiar sounding chord in my own heart. "...pride got in the way and I lost my place..." That comment echoed in my heart for the rest of the day, and I knew the Lord was using this to remind me in a very tangible way of what so easily and commonly happens in our every-day lives. Prideful assumption that we can handle _______, producing a lack of focus on what really matters, therefore ending in a lost estate of a mess to try to find our way out of. So often we forget that constant vigilance is necessary to keep our heart focused on Christ and what He has set before us. Without our vigilant focus being on Christ, we then lose our place in one of two ways: either, we lose our place in the terms of we forget where we are and what we are supposed to be doing, or we lose our place of constructive influence or position in the lives of those who are watching and observing our lives, therefore becoming a disgrace to the kingdom of God.
As children of the King, we are representing the King of kings and Lord of lords. What a shame when we allow pride to get between our hearts and our Guide. It distorts and corrupts that which God intended to be a beautiful song ~ speaking to hearts and entering into lives, drawing people to the Savior. We rather becoming a byword and a gazing stalk ~ repelling others from Him because of our distasteful and expelling attitude of pride.
May the Lord help each one of us to stay humble and in the presence of mind to remain focused on Christ. As we keep our eyes and hearts on Him, He will lead us, shaping our lives into becoming a beautiful song for the glory of His name and the edification of those He wants to touch through our lives.
In closing, by the time we were to present the prepared message in song, we all were in a right state of mind, focused and attentive, and the Lord used it beautifully. It was smoothly presented without a noticeable glitch and we were able to support the message through compelling and confident presentation.
God is good to give us reminders along the way, even using real-life situations of lesser importance to reveal deeper truths that will draw us closer to Himself. My prayer is that as you journey through life, dear reader, you will be sensitive to the Lord in the everyday lessons He wants to reveal to you. Don't let a moment pass without recognizing His work in your own life, providing you opportunities, one after another, to grow in a more intimate understanding of Him and drawing nearer to His heart. His ways are past finding out, but He encourages us to seek Him, because He promises to reveal Himself to those who's hearts are truly searching for Him. But the only way He will be found of us is if we come in humility of heart, because He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
~ James 4:6-8,10 ~