Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.09.2009

Standing Room Only

There is a sea of people stretching out to the horizon. There are more than you have ever seen at the hugest arena. More than ever have gathered in D.C. to protest. The array is endless—person after person, the sun glinting off their ebony, blond, and brown hair, their brilliant robes swinging in the wind. There is the sudden sound of music—a symphony of the best musicians—and the combined rustle of thousands of people fills the air, which pulsates with movement. In one motion, the crowd falls forward on its knees, and every head is bent in reverence to the 90 foot gold statue that holds the preeminent place. As the eye scans the crowd, all heads are bent at the same level, except—something jars the sight. Everywhere, these thousands upon thousands are kneeling, but for three lone men. They alone stand erect, upright, their shoulders back, their eyes lifted to heaven. Their jaws are set, their faces are peaceful, and they are perfectly still other than the flurry of their robes about their feet. It is impossible not to notice them, for they are the only three who stand in worship of their God, and they are about to face the ultimate test for their stand.
Normally around this time, I would tell you that I have a symphony concert tomorrow and Sunday. I would inform you that we are playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with a pianist who performed Rachmaninov’s 3rd to perfection, and that we are performing the spine-tinglingly gorgeous Lincoln Portrait by Copland. However, in addition to those pieces, this time our symphony is playing the music from the movie Harry Potter. Several months ago as I stared at the program, I sighed, "No!" but I knew right away what the Lord wanted me to do. So, because of the witchcraft that Harry Potter involves and glorifies, Mikaela and I will not be playing it.
I share this now to unite those of us who are Christians with head-noddings of encouragement and challenge. I know that some of you may not agree with me, but I also know that those who are Christians will always say that you should stand on your convictions.
Several years ago, in a performance in the park, we were faced with the same choice. We sat on stage, violins at our side, while everyone else played this same piece of music. Tomorrow will be the same, except that we will have to walk off the stage. I knew all along that this was what the Lord wanted me to do, but I also knew how awkward and humbling this experience would be. What I didn’t know was what gracious blessings the Lord would bring for this paltry hardship! For the first few weeks, Mikaela and I sat together in the back, trying to look as normal as possible while not playing. Through the course of the fall, though, we've inevitably had to sit with different people in the front. The first time this happened, we prayed a quick prayer, and then we each explained to our stand partners that we wouldn’t be playing the music because we were Christians and had a conviction against it, and, amazingly, our stand partners both asked us later, with genuine interest, why it was that we would not play it. That was the first blessing—a wide-open opportunity to explain that I was a Christian and what I believed! I got to experience this blessing three more times (-: and I can only pray that God planted some seeds because of those opportunities.
So you see, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego are my heroes. They could have joined the crowd, bowed for only a few minutes, and then tried to forget about it. They didn’t. They could have taken the king’s second chance once they found out that their lives were actually at stake, but they didn’t. They stood, perhaps with some of the discomfort and dread that I myself feel, but certainly with the upholding sense of God’s presence that I experience. They were willing to give their lives; I am only giving up my pride, but we both are standing alone in obedience to God.
We all are faced with choices every day, and just because they are not as dramatic as facing a fiery furnace or walking off stage doesn’t mean they are any less important. I share with you this passage from one of my favorite authors and poets for it is one of the most powerful things I have ever read:

So you see, standing alone is not just Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego standing when everyone else is kneeling. It can also be Daniel kneeling when he thinks nobody else is watching. Standing alone is not just refusing to play a song that everyone else is playing. It can also be refusing to listen to a song when nobody else is there. Standing alone is not just making the choice to remain pure before marriage. It is also making the choice to dress modestly. And, when you look at it plainly, standing alone is no real sacrifice, because a sacrifice implies that the cost is greater than the gain. Make no mistake: the gain of standing alone is so infinitely and incomprehensibly greater than the cost that there is no such thing.
In Jim Elliot's own words and hand-writing: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Amen?








Pictures from: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/danielward/2004/11/02/wanderer.bmp
and http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/faq/20.htm

5 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I found your blog just tonight through another blog that I just found tonight through a blog that I am a regular reader of. I have been so pleased at what I've read! :)

    One reason why I just "had" to leave a comment is because the title of my blog is "My Bright Corner." Funny coincidence. Glad other Christian young ladies love "Brighten the Corner", too.

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  2. Rebecca--thanks for commenting and introducing yourself! We love hearing from new people, and are glad you're enjoying the blog!
    That is quite funny that your blog has such a similar title! I wonder how many other variations on the idea are out there!

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  3. What an encouraging post! I have never met y'all, but I found this article on your blog through the comment that you left on Tara and Kelly Riddell's blog, and I just had to let you know what an encouragement it was to me! Thank you for sharing this - praise God that there are still a few left who are willing to do the hard thing and stand up for what they believe! The Lord knew I needed to hear this today!

    May the Lord bless both of you!

    From one twin to another set of twins, :)

    ~ Kate

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  4. First of all, Kate, how exciting that you are a twin as well! It's the best thing in the world, isn't it? I'm so glad the post encouraged you at just the right time--I am equally encouraged by the support of all of you. Standing alone is so much easier when you realize that fellow Christians all over are making the hard choices! Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Hi Lauren,
    I know this blog post was written a long time ago (!), but when I read it, I couldn't help but marvel! My siblings and I did the exact same thing! Except our orchestra was playing West Side Story, and since we didn't agree with what West Side Story is about (not to mention some questionable parts music wise), we chose not to play it! It didn't go over very well, but God worked everything out! Anyhow, thanks for posting this!

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