Two years ago I was sitting alone on the stage, looking out over the empty seats of Ragtown Gospel Theater, and thinking it could all be over. Just outside, a raging mile-wide brushfire was blazing all around the building. Here’s a link to the rest of that miraculous story, if you’d like to read it.
Yesterday, two years to the day later, I found myself sitting in the very same spot, fighting back those same thoughts. Looking out at those empty seats in the theater, having just visited with Glenn on the phone, and together making the decision to cancel performances of Sweet Sixteen for the rest of March, I was grappling with what we need to do. The uncertainty isn’t going to be over in a couple of hours this time, but I’m believing that the answer could be just as miraculous. There’s a song I wrote five or six years ago that we’ve been singing again during this show. It’s called You Can’t Have Faith Without Tribulation. Here’s a link to a video we did of that song that we shot back in 2016. Brenda Rhoades and Jay Young were singing with me at the time.
That’s a fun song to sing, but I think there’s a lot of truth in it. You have no reason to exercise faith if you don’t face tribulation. Even the Son of God had to face tribulation in order to exhibit faith in His Father. And that’s a crucial point that I think gets left out of a lot of teaching and preaching. It isn’t the quality or quantity of our faith that’s important. What matters is who our faith is in…who we’re counting on to lead us through the fire.
Strangely enough, there’s another song we’re also performing during this show that makes that point. It’s called Get Out’a That Boat, and again, it’s a sort of humorous song, but there’s this one line about when Jesus was walking on the water in the middle of the Sea of Galilee and Peter got out of the boat to walk toward Him. The lyrics are: Peter stepped out on that water. He stepped out on solid faith, and when he lost his footing, Jesus caught him in a strong embrace. And you know what Jesus asked him? He asked him, “Where was his faith?” Was Peter’s faith in Jesus, or Peter’s faith in Peter’s faith?
During that same video shoot with Jay and Brenda, we taped Get Out’a That Boat.
This time we’re all facing a time of tribulation together. Nothing exactly like this has ever happened before. In this situation, instead of purposely stepping out of the boat, I have to admit that it feels a little more like getting tossed overboard into a storm, but the answer is still the same, just like it says in the song…
You can trust Him! You can trust Him! In the fire and in the flood. You can trust Him! You can trust Him! You were purchased with His Blood. You can trust Him! You can trust Him! He can see what we can’t see, and He works it out for our own good, cause Jesus loves you and me!
All morning the cast of Sweet Sixteen has been commiserating with each other in texts about canceling these next two performances. It is touching to me to read their comments to each other and see their commitment to presenting this sweet, funny story. They are all so sad…as am I, because they all love it and believe, as I do, that it conveys a message people need so badly to hear.
So we’re trusting that we’ll be back on the Ragtown stage soon, and when we are, that you’ll be right there with us. Hey, we’re American Children of God…and we’re not inclined to hunker down for a minute longer than is absolutely necessary, right? In the meantime, over the next few days I’m going to be sending a few special things out to the folks on our email list. If you’re not on that list, and you’d like to be, here’s one more link.
O Victory In Jesus!