Behind the Curtain

 

Empty Stage

The reviews for this extraordinary production are excellent. “Ladies and gentlemen, not in the last two thousand years has anyone witnessed such an astounding performance. The audience waits with great anticipation of what is to come. The list of actors is among the very best in the business. The world has been waiting to see such a heartwarming, spell bounding presentation that raises the bar on what a first rate Broadway show really entails. You will never forget this spectacular, earth shattering event!”

The emcee stands under the spotlight. The audience is comprised of people of all ages, from all walks of life. The price of the tickets was astronomical. You are ushered to your seat, by an attendant wearing an expensive white tuxedo. You have center aisle, front row seats…the best available. People around you are dressed in their finest, so are you. However, you are certain that this experience will be very well worth it. The lights are dimmed, the show is about to start and you wait… not even realizing it that you are holding your breath.

Before the show begins, a stunning individual, glowing, with almost angelic features, stands on stage and explains, “Tonight, behind these curtains, you will experience a performance so magnificent that it will literally transform your life. Before viewing the premier presentation however, you will have the privilege of seeing what goes on behind the curtain, before the actual, remarkable feature begins. It’s nothing like you would have ever dreamed, or expected.”

You ask yourself, “What could be that fantastic behind some red curtains?” Then your mind wonders back to things you read in the bible regarding curtains. All the through the Old Testament curtains were constructed in elaborate ways for many uses, to serve as a shield of protection, used for the entrance of the tabernacle, tent meetings and to shield the Ark of the Covenant. For some reason you reflect on the scripture from Hebrews 6:19 NIV, We have this hope as an anchor of the soul. Firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. “That’s odd…I wonder where that came from?” you say to yourself. Little do you know that what you are about to witness will definitely change your life and someone very dear to you. The show begins with astounding applause.

In the scene behind the curtain, you have the opportunity to see the struggles, the disappointments, disagreements, the turmoil and strife that plagues the everyday lives of the actors. “Do they realize other people are seeing all of this?” You see the attitudes and self-centeredness of some actors who seek to upstage their peers, actors so will cheat, connive and do whatever it takes to get ahead. You witness disappointment in some actors when “major” scenes, that exhibit love, care and soul winning performances are completely eliminated. The director gives orders and dictates what each actor is supposed to do, how and when they are supposed to say their lines. He is adamant that the actors adhere to his orders, along with certain inflections they should use for special emphasis, to capture the minds and hearts of the viewers. He’s very shrewd, manipulative and cunning, appealing to the desires and lust of the actors, to the point where they are not even cognizant of their own behavior. The ultimate goal is to send a specific message to take the mind of the audience captive. As you look around, the audience appears to be spellbound by the performers who are trained to engage the viewers, by inspiring them to alter their thoughts, their lives and their destiny.

Wait! Who is that? “That…looks…like…me!” you are completely bemused by what you are viewing, “What am I doing on stage? This is supposed to be about someone else’s life, not mine.” You close your eyes and want to leave but for some reason… you can’t move. You have to stay, even though you don’t want to see what might happen. Then you open your eyes, because unbridled curiosity makes it difficult to stop contemplating the next scene. Oh, you think, “That was me when I was only a child, I really didn’t know any better.” Then there’s a scene when you were a teenager, and you ask yourself, “Was I really like that? What could I have been thinking?” You finally surmised, “If I had only listened, maybe I would not have made so many mistakes.” The events as an adult were the most painful because some decisions you made were deliberate, conscious acts of rebellion, based entirely on fulfilling your personal needs and desires, knowing they were against God’s will. “This is overwhelming,” you wince. “How can I get this to stop?”

You take a look around and see others, squirming, cringing and wandering why they are in such distress, “This is all about me!” you cry out in silence. You pray, “Lord, maybe no one will know that it’s me, my life, my weakness, my failures, my secret sins.” You think about the insatiable desire we all possess to see the weaknesses and flaws of others, but not ourselves. So you’re trapped. If you leave, everyone will see you since you have the best seat available. How could you get up and walk out in front of everyone without them noticing that this production is all about you? You say inwardly, “I don’t want to see this and I certainly don’t want anyone else to witness my failures.” Then you remember all the things you have done, you remember how you mistreated others, how they mistreated you. You remember how you still hold on to the hurt that has haunted you for years. You see the devastation that these events have caused in your life. “God please, I don’t think I can take it!” You close our eyes as if by the mere fact that you can’t see what’s going on around you, the truth will vanish, like it never happened. You are so preoccupied with your own personal pain that it hasn’t even occurred to you that others could be experiencing similar emotional shock about themselves.

You finally realize what seemed to have gone on for hours has only been a few minutes; you hold your breath for the final scene. Then you see the end, the most extraordinary, most marvelous, most gracious, merciful act of the entire performance. You see yourself… forgiven! You hear this still small voice call your name and say, Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine, (Isaiah 43:1b,NKJV). You have this amazing glow, warmth in your heart, a sense of peace all around you, “Thank you Lord Jesus, thank you, there is redemption,” you shout with tears of joy.  All of the hurt, all of the pain, all of the embarrassment have been extinguished. You exhale the grief, and breathe in the relief of God’s wondrous forgiveness, grace and mercy.

You look around over to the next aisles and others behind you and around you, appear to be responding the same way. Wait, there are some who seem to be in great distress, sobbing, with their heads bowed, hands covering their faces, you hear the uncontrollable wailing, the murmuring. They project desperate, agonizing, depths of defeat crying, hysterically, yelling, “Lord, forgive me. Lord if I had only known. God please help me!” Suddenly you notice…the person next to you, the person you love, the person who accompanied you, your husband, your wife, your sister or brother, your coworker, your friend, your mother, your father, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your neighbor, your niece, nephew, cousin, son or daughter… is devastated! You can no longer rejoice as you witness their anguish. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit, II Corinthians 3:15-18 NIV.

The performance is over, now that the curtain is closed, now that all has been exposed, you step from behind the curtain…your work begins.

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One Comment
  1. A truly wonderful and thought provoking article. It will do us all good to sit back and watch our life’s performance on the greatest stage ever. Then we can truly thank God for His grace and mercy.

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