She is 7 and this is her first piano recital. She sits alone on the piano bench, unmoving, as tears begin to slide down her cheeks. She looks out at her parents as if to say, “I can’t do it.” Her dad, a world class musician, quietly walks up and simply sits beside her. He just sits there as she plays. The truth is, he could play the piece much better than she does. But that’s neither his goal nor his purpose. The playing is hers; he only sits close to let her know she is not alone and she can do it. When it is over she is filled with satisfaction and pride. She did it. She may not even be aware of how much her father’s simple presence gave her the courage she needed.
So often in life we face great challenges that feel beyond our ability or courage. We hesitate to even try….and yet we know we must. But how? God promises to always be near, to be present with us at all times. We may not feel Him but He is there, and his very presence gives us the courage and fortitude to keep going.
I have friends who have stood by me in difficult times and “sat on the piano bench” with me. When Budd died suddenly, my sisters flew here immediately and just stayed close, my friends handled innumerable details. My kids, though living their own grief, walked with me in the difficult months following our loss. God has always been present, and often he uses people to sit on our piano bench on his behalf.
I look back at the countless times I have been faced with big decisions and big opportunities. Whether being invited to teach in Australia, asked to come on staff at my church or deciding to do graduate studies, left to my own limitations I flounder. But God has always been close and provided those people who walk along and encourage me. I could not have done any of those things on my own. And this makes me wonder…is there someone I could help by sitting on their piano bench?
Whether it is through a person or an awareness of God’s presence, we do not have to face the stuff of life alone. It feels that way sometimes but there is another way…
Jesus didn’t just call a group of guys and tell them to go teach people about Him. He lived with, walked with and encouraged his disciples just as He does with us today. The apostle Paul believed in a young man named Timothy who became his mission partner and ultimately led a fledgling church. Paul sat on Timothy’s piano bench.
God promises to be close and to give us what we need in order to do life. Are you open to that? Do you allow others into your circumstances so that they can help and encourage? If not, its time to make a change.
God promises us His Holy Spirit as a teacher, comforter and guide. We don’t ever need to sit on the piano bench alone. Its not about who can do it best…its about us doing our best at what we’re created and called to be. Take heart. You’re not alone on the stage of life.
Isaiah 43:2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:13 For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
Matthew 28:19,20 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
1 Timothy 1:1,2 This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. 2 I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.