I was trying out for the female lead in our high-school senior play. These tryouts had been going on for a week, and now it was down to the day when the cast would be chosen.
The role appeared to be mine. I was thrilled until the drama coach told me that my voice didn't carry to the back of the auditorium. My heart sank. She said we would take a 10-minute break, then have one more tryout. If my voice still didn't carry, she would give the part to Katherine, who had already been guaranteed another part in the play. For me it was this part or nothing.
I went to the side of the stage. I had 10 minutes to figure out a way to get that part. I felt I was already projecting my voice as far as I could. No ideas came to me. Then I just said, "God, you will have to help me. I don't know what to do."
Suddenly I remembered a verse from the Bible: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." This is from the 23rd Psalm. There are several other verses in this beautiful psalm, but I stopped right there. "I shall not want" seemed to shout at me.
Then a very different thought from the ones I'd been thinking came to me: "Would I want that part if I couldn't be heard? Wouldn't it be better if Katherine had that role if her voice carried?" A wonderful peace came over me. I actually wanted Katherine to have the part if it meant having a successful play.
Time was up, and we were called back for the last tryout. I felt no pressure about the outcome. I knew it was in God's hands. When it was over, the drama coach told me I had the part because she could hear me way in the back of the auditorium.
I was glad, but it wasn't the big relief I thought it would be. What was awesome was the sudden change that came over me in that moment of letting go of my will and wanting what was best for everyone. I have since realized what that was. It was the Christ coming to me. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded this newspaper, described Christ this way: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 332).
Now the 23rd Psalm has special meaning for me. It reminds me of that inspired moment and the high-school play. It also makes me confident that God's message can reach us wherever we are. It may not be the message we expect, but it will always leave us better and happier than we were before.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor