Last year my wife and I had season tickets to the Broadway series at the Civic Center Music Hall with some friends. It was great fun. We got to see 5 Broadway quality shows on the big stage and have 5 pre-planned nights out with my wife and friends. I was so glad we took the leap to buy the tickets.
Our seats were not orchestra level. They were not on the Mezzanine level. They were not on the concourse level. I am not even sure they were on the balcony level. I think they were somewhere on the “Devon level,” as in somewhere halfway up the new Devon tower. I am not complaining. I was just happy to be there. However, at that distance, your experience is totally different. At the “Devon Level,” you can hear the music, but you can’t make out all the words. You can see the people, but you cannot make out all the expressions. You are in the building, but you are not close to the action.
We have had the great pleasure of being in the orchestra level for a show before, and the experience is totally different. Up close you can see the hem lines in the costumes and the smudges in the makeup. Up close you see not only the big picture that the show designers want you to see, but the imperfections in the stage setup that they want you to miss. Honestly, I enjoy sitting in both locales.
Often times in our spiritual lives, we have a “Devon Level” seat to God’s work. We read the Bible and hear of how God worked in the lives of others, or we hear a testimony at church, and have a general sense of the plot. We hear His music, but can’t make out all the words. We know what God did, but we cannot see the exact expression of how He did it.
For the past month, however, I have had orchestra seats to God’s work in my family. I have seen God provide and answer prayers up close and personal. I have prayed for blood pressures to stabilize and watched the numbers go down. I have prayed for creatinine levels to lower, and watched the numbers fall. I have prayed for a quick recovery and seen it happen. I have prayed for my son to do well in his travels, and seen him thrive in his time away while Kimberly was in the hospital. For the most part, I have been able to communicate a lot of these items to all of us via this blog . . . kind of a “Playbill” detailing the Acts of His faithfulness. Seeing God work up close like this has caused me and many of you to declare that “God is good.”
This past weekend, however, I got to have a front row seat to another display of God’s providence. I had the incredible privilege of officiating at a Memorial Service for a precious 8 week old baby who God chose fit to call home at such an early age. As I have been up close with this situation (and many others over my years in ministry) it has reminded me of the danger of declaring that “God is good” only when He does what we want Him to do. In reality, God is good ALL THE TIME, not just when He answers our prayers in the way we want and according to the timetable we want.
From the front row, we see all the flaws in this world, as well as the beauty. This close up perspective gives us a non-idealized vision of reality. We see life and we see death. From the back row, we can generalize problems away. Up close we are afforded no such luxury. For many of you reading this blog from the “Devon seats,” you might assume that everything is always easy and always works out when “God is good” in the Robinson household. The reality is, that from the orchestra pit of life, things are hard and don’t always work out as we want. This does not mean that God is not good. On the contrary, it means that God is great . . . so great that we do not always understand what He is up to. By faith, we trust that God is good, even when the surgery does not work or when the child dies. By faith, we also trust that God is good when healing comes and when prayers are answered.
We must learn to appreciate the beauty of the different perspectives we gain on the Lord from both the Devon seats and the orchestra pit. He is the star of the show at both levels, and His greatness is apparent regardless of our ability to make out all the lines.
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21
Like Job, we must learn to bless the Lord regardless the outcome.
We are praising God currently, though, for much good news at the Robinson household. Kimberly is doing well in her recovery. Her kidney is functioning well. The trach site is in the process of healing, and generally, she is feeling better every week. Thanks for joining us in prayer! God is worthy to be trusted with all things . . . including all outcomes. I am so thankful, however, that His outcome at this time for Kimberly has been so positive!