Updated: May 29, 2020
"I'm sorry, Jen, nothing seems to be working."
I groaned inwardly out of frustration. It was the one Sunday that I was supposed to lead worship, and everything was going terribly. The stage lights were flickering on and off haphazardly with no apparent way to control them. The lyrics on the big screen were completely distorted, which meant that the congregation would not be able to read them. The Please-Take-Your-Seat-The-Service-Is-About-To-Start video was playing at random times throughout morning worship practice, disrupting everything. Although the instruments all sounded great, we were having some serious technical difficulties. Sunday service was about to begin in less than 15 minutes, and we had tried everything we could think of to fix the issues.
"Stuff like this always happens to me!" I whined. It seemed like every time the main worship leader was out of town, something terrible took place. This wasn't the first time something ridiculous happened when he was away. I wanted to start crying, but instead, I ran into the bathroom and gave a very heartfelt prayer to God.
"Lord," I began, "I know that You have more power than we do. You know exactly what the problem is, and I am asking that You fix it for us. You've done it for us before. I believe in Your power, and I trust in You. Amen."
I rushed up to the stage and prepared for God to magically fix everything... but 5 minutes into the first service, I realized that that wasn't going to happen. Nothing had changed. The congregation still didn't have any lyrics to the songs. The lights were still flickering. And the "Please Take Your Seat" video popped up twice when it shouldn't have.
I had a brief moment of doubt up on the stage. Why wasn't God fixing everything?
But then Living Hope started playing. The words touched my soul, and I somehow knew that God had everything under control. Instead of panicking, I decided that I was just going to worship God through the mess. I was leading worship for the church anyway, so I figured that I may as well authentically worship Him to the best of my ability. I strummed my guitar like crazy and sang my lungs out.
I got through both services that morning. The technical difficulties hadn't changed at all - and it was comical at times - but I felt at peace. God had chosen to not answer my prayer in the way I asked, but everything had turned out fine. Many people had come up to me and told me that they felt the Spirit moving through the music, even with the technical difficulties. Several people told me that they were uplifted by the service. One man even said that he cried during a specific song. I praised God and thanked Him that the Sunday worship wasn't a complete failure. However, I still couldn't help but wonder in the back of my mind why God didn't fix any of the issues I was experiencing.
Two days later, I saw a missed call from my pastor. He left a voice message asking if I would like to lead worship more often. I was shocked. Although the music turned out fine on the Sunday before, I truly doubted that I would ever be asked to lead worship again with how bad the technical difficulties were. But there he was, asking if I would lead more often. So I called him back.
"Jen! How are you?" He answered.
"Fine. I got your message. I would love to lead worship more often!"
"That's great to hear! The staff and I were actually talking, and we thought that you would make a very good intern under the head worship leader. You will train with him, and when he is out of town, you will be able to understand the technical side of things much better. We can't pay much, but you will become part of the staff. Would that interest you at all?"
I was stunned. I had wanted to work for the church for years, but never had an opportunity before. And the only time I led worship was once or twice a year as a volunteer.
"Yes it would very much interest me!" I practically shouted back to the pastor.
Suddenly, it all made sense. God had a bigger plan in mind. He not only blessed the Sunday service by allowing the Spirit to move through the disorder, but He blessed my life. He fulfilled two of my biggest desires: to work at the church and to lead worship more often.
Sometimes, when we pray to God and He doesn't answer the way we think He should, we lose faith in Him. I almost did. I certainly have before in the past. But oftentimes, God doesn't do what we ask because He has a better plan in mind for us. For example, if I had figured out what was wrong with the lights and media that Sunday morning, I don't think I ever would have been offered a job at the church. I think the need for an intern would no longer be crucial. God knew exactly what He was doing, and was working through the mess to do what He does best: bless.
"You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”