All the Drama

When I was 16 my life took a dramatic turn.

My dad suffered a massive heart attack, and he ended up spending several months in the hospital. To make matters worse, unknown to my mother, my dad had stopped paying the premiums on our health insurance. This was due to the fact that the jewelry store my parents owned had run into financial troubles. My dad had not shared this with anyone, including my mother. Needless to say, the hospital bills were enormous, and the jewelry store was broke.

As a result, my parents were forced to declare bankruptcy. They had to sell our home, consolidate the jewelry business and we moved into an apartment. The affluence and life that I had known growing up was gone. The people that my parents had called “friends” all dropped them like a hot potato. Not only were we isolated in the community, but I was also isolated at school. My father was forced to try and find a new job, which was made more difficult due to the fact he had virtually no marketable skills and a serious heart condition. Things looked bleak.

I had walked to my school, Woodrow Wilson High, every day since my house was only 3 blocks away. The move to the apartment in downtown Portsmouth (VA) meant that I now had to take the city bus. This was a terrifying experience for me for several reasons.

For one, I was an extremely immature, insecure 16-year-old. I had been sheltered for most of my life, living in a tight knit Jewish community. But outside of that bubble, segregation was still in full swing in Portsmouth in 1964 and people of color were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. So, day in and day out, I sat there on the bus by myself, simply hoping to survive the ride. I remember feeling alone and abandoned by everyone.

Due to my lack of self-confidence and insecurity, I was not involved in any extra-curricular activities. The one thing that I did do well (and still do to this day) is talk!  And not only talk but talk loudly! One day a fellow student suggested that I should be in the Drama Club. I am not sure if he was joking or not, but I desperately wanted to be a part of something, so I ended up joining the Drama Club and that is where I met Mrs. Brady. She was a strong, assertive, elderly woman (at least it seemed so to me at the time!) She taught senior English and was passionate about drama. For reasons only God knows, Mrs. Brady took a liking to me.

Every day after school I would go to play practice in the large school auditorium. At that time there was no such thing as wireless microphones, so all the plays were performed with no sound amplification of any kind. Mrs. Brady would sit in the back of the dark auditorium during rehearsals and would constantly yell, "I can't hear you!"

It was during these rehearsals, that Mrs. Brady taught me how to project my already loud and strong voice so that everyone in the room could hear me clearly. She taught me to enunciate, how to articulate, how to address an audience, how to gesture and posture.  She taught me how to inflect my voice, and to engage the audience into each scene. Thanks to Mrs. Brady taking me under her wing, by my senior year in high school, I was considered one of the leading actors in the troop and had major roles in all the plays. I often think back on my theatrical training as the greatest single piece of preparation that I could've had for being a good communicator for the Lord Jesus Christ! Of course, at the time, neither I nor Mrs. Brady had any inkling of how God was going to use this training in my life.
What had been a dramatic turn of events in my life ended up leading me to the very thing God used to prepare me for what He had planned for me to do.

As followers of Jesus Christ, God wants us to know with certainty that not only did He redeem us, but that He has an individual personal plan for our lives. God does not want to be our lifeguard, my friends, God wants to be our shepherd. And shepherds are involved in the lives of their sheep down to the smallest detail. He will personally lead us in that plan if we'll just let Him.

Every one of us face tough times, challenges and crossroads in our lives. When we're tempted to quit, when we’re tempted to throw in the towel, it’s in those moments, the only thing that allows us to stick it out is the absolute confidence that we are where we are because the living Lord Jesus personally put us where we are, led us to where we are, called us to where we are. One of the greatest benefits of being a follower of Christ is that we can trust the process when our trust is in God.

So, if you are not sure what God is doing, and circumstances seem desperate and beyond your control, just rest in the peace of knowing, that an all-knowing God is right on schedule.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

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