I want to share a true story with anyone who may be struggling with what is taking place in their life or who may be wondering if God is at work in their life. I want to share a true story of a divine appointment that I got to witness firsthand this past Sunday. I am sharing this story because the Lord put it on my heart to share it.
Author Note: Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I am not using the real names of the people involved as a precaution.
I assist my local church on Sundays by running the live broadcast and by recording video for the church’s sermon archive. I will occasionally operate the soundboard when the person who normally operates the soundboard (let’s call him “the Sound Guy”) is not able to be at church. I know the basics of turning on and turning off certain microphones with the soundboard, but I am not an expert.
December 14 was the date of my church’s annual Christmas program. Each year the children at my church reenact the birth of the Messiah. The Christmas program is the second largest production that my church does each year.
I have been attending this church for a little more than a year so I have only seen the Christmas program once. I remember there was multiple microphones set up so that the audience and those watching online could hear the children recite their lines. However, I watched the Christmas program from the audience so I had little idea of what was required to manage the Christmas program from an audio standpoint.
This year I expected to run the live broadcast and to record video so that families could have a video of the performance for their memories. However, late Friday evening I learned that the Sound Guy would not be at church on Sunday. This left me in the position where I would have to set up and run the audio and video of the performance by myself.
As you can imagine, I was not looking forward to Sunday. I actually thought about not setting up anything for the Christmas program because I did not know what to do. I called the Sound Guy at his request on Saturday and he told me that he and our church evangelist (let’s call him “the Evangelist”) would be at the church Saturday evening to record audio of the Evangelist and his wife singing. The Sound Guy further explained that he would help me set up the microphones for Sunday’s Christmas program if I came to help with the recording session. I agreed to come to the recording session so I could have the microphones set up for Sunday.1
The recording session lasted much longer than I anticipated (two hours longer to be precise). After the recording session the Sound Guy instructed me on where to place the microphones. The Evangelist and his wife watched the Sound Guy and I set up the microphones and mentioned that they were not sure which church they were going to be at on Sunday when asked about where they would be.
Despite the microphones being in position, I was not confident about Sunday. Our church’s soundboard is outdated and has broken down to the point that only half of the audio channels work. In addition, I was not confident in my ability to properly control a variety of microphones simultaneously after I made an embarrassing mistake while running the soundboard a month earlier at our church’s biggest production: a regional men’s meeting.
I prayed on Sunday morning for the Lord to get me through Sunday’s performance without a major screw-up. I admitted my inability to effectively manage the audio and the video during the production in my own strength. Fresh in my mind was these passages as I needed and called for help:
(9) And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)
6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. (Mark 11:24)
I arrived at church and found the Sound Guy’s son turning on the microphones for me. This was a welcome surprise because one of the microphones was positioned far above the stage where the performance would take place. I was surprised further in Sunday school when the Evangelist came and sat next to me. He told me that he came to help me with the performance and that this was a major reason why he and his wife decided to attend our church on Sunday. I appreciated his willingness to help because I needed all the help that I could get.
The children’s Christmas program was scheduled to take place in the early portion of the Sunday morning service, so I did not have a lot of time to test the audio equipment after Sunday school (which ends 15 minutes before the start of the morning service). The Evangelist and I only had time to check the microphones before morning service began.
Before I continue with the story let me give you an idea of where I am positioned on Sundays. The church auditorium has a balcony where all the video and audio equipment is positioned. The balcony also has a few rows of pews, but the balcony is not an area where people tend to sit at since it is far away from the preaching. The Sound Guy and I sit in the balcony because we need to run the video and audio during church services.
The Sound Guy and I are often joined in the balcony each Sunday by a guy who has attended our church since he was young (let’s call him “Tech”). Tech appeared this particular Sunday with a guest who never attended a church service before. As I suggested, this individual sat in an area that is far away from the preaching on a day where there would be a lot of chaos. Basically, this first-time church vistor sat at quite possibly the worst place one could sit at to absorb the message that was going to be preached.
I expected to operate the soundboard during the children’s performance, but I was pleasantly surprised when the Evangelist offered to take the challenge of operating the soundboard. I was even more surprised that the Evangelist quickly learned how to operate the soundboard and was good at it. As the Evangelist operated the soundboard, Tech volunteered to operate the camcorder that we use for our live broadcast and to record video. Another guy helped us take photos of the children’s performance up-close. This was all great because I did not really have to do anything except to sit back and watch events transpire. I mentioned quietly to the Evangelist that I felt like a director. I was grateful for everyone who stepped up to help me with the performance, especially since everything went relatively well.
The most incredible thing happened after the morning message was preached. The pastor of our church typically gives an invitation after the morning message is preached where he asks those in the audience whether they know for sure if they will go to Heaven when they die. Anyone who is unsure is encouraged to raise their hand so they can receive assistance. The new visitor raised his hand during the invitation time, but the pastor did not see him raise his hand because he did not look up at where the visitor was sitting. Tech saw his guest raise his hand and quietly informed the Evangelist that the new visitor raised his hand.
Immediately after the service the Evangelist approached the new visitor and gave him a Gospel presentation. I conversed with Tech as the Gospel presentation took place. Although we talked about sports, we both knew what was going on just a few feet away from us. The presentation lasted for more than twenty minutes, and the visitor, who had never attended a church service anywhere before Sunday, accepted Christ as His Savior!
I was in awe of God after I got home from church because I realized that everything had to occur in the way that they did to bring the salvation of this visitor. The salvation of this visitor would not have occurred on that day if Tech had not invited him to church and directed him to sit with us. The salvation of this visitor may not have happened on that day if the Sound Guy was able to make it to church because the Evangelist would’ve likely visited a different church or sat with his wife away from the balcony at our church service. The salvation of this visitor would not have happened on that day if the Evangelist did not come to help me run the soundboard (he was in perfect position to minister to the visitor because he only sat two feet away from him). Finally, the salvation of this visitor would not have happened on that day if the pastor did not preach the message he preached (which was centered on Christ).
I learned later that day that the Evangelist desperately wanted to give somebody a Gospel presentation even before he arrived at church Sunday morning. The Lord gave the Evangelist the opportunity that he wanted and gave me far beyond what I expected in the help to run the audio and video of the Christmas program. The Evangelist told me that he had operated the soundboard at his college, so it was no wonder that he was so good at operating the soundboard.
I hope that people are encouraged by a story like this. I needed this story as much as anyone because I need reminders that God is at work when things seem bleak. God was definitely at work on this particular Sunday and the days preceding that Sunday in the lives of several people to set up this divine appointment.
God is at work now even though we may sometimes question what is happening in our lives. Sometimes it may feel that the world is falling apart around us, but God is there and in control. Perhaps God is currently at work setting up something that will positively impact your life and/or the lives of others.