Earlier this month I received an urgent prayer request from Dennis and Wendy Cole at Dramatic Christian Ministries in New Mexico. That very night they were scheduled to open "My Wonderful Coma," and the male lead was headed into surgery with a serious kidney stone. If Tom wasn't miraculously healed, opening night would be cancelled.
The news initially shocked and troubled me, but knowing we serve a mighty God, I earnestly joined with them in prayer.
Late that night the update came: opening night had been cancelled. The audience had to be turned away. Some wouldn't be able to make it back to another performance. Even though I was part way across the country, I felt Dennis and Wendy's sorrow and disappointment in a big way.
But as I continued reading the update, I was moved, humbled, and challenged.
"We are very blessed to know that this play is that powerful to be such a threat to the enemy. Though we feel the pain of being hit very hard we know that God is in control. We were able to have great prayer and fellowship tonight with the cast and crew and we are closer and more cohesive than ever and for that we give praise, honor, glory and thanks to Jesus. He is so very awesome. More than ever we are aware of what a great God we serve and how He is ever faithful in all things."
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that they were out of God's will, Dennis and Wendy recognized the enemy.
Instead of shaking fists or whining "Why, God?" they reacted by seeing the temporary disappointment as an opportunity to grow, never doubting God's faithfulness.
Instead of scattering or surrendering to defeat, they gathered to pray and rejoice.
They didn't wait for the wrap party to celebrate. In the middle of the battlefield they knew the victory had already been won, even though it hadn't happened in "real time" yet.
Opening night came in God's perfect time: one day late. This was their report:
"It was a huge success with a packed house. What a miracle! Everybody LOVED IT! Tom was completely pain free, and the entire cast delivered great performances.... (It was) made even sweeter because of what happened the day before."
I now have a post-it note on my monitor to remind me of these three steps when "opportunities" arise: Recognize, React, Rejoice!