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Opening Night

"It’s just not fair! I worked the last three nights in a row and now I have to go out to the field again! It’s not right for Micah to put his chores off on me! Nobody asked me if I’d like to go to town. Oh, no! I’m the ‘little brother’ who has to do whatever anybody tells him to do."

And with that, Rufus turned and left for the sheepfold, joining the other shepherds as they made their way to the high plains, gently leading the sheep.

They built their small fire on the crest of a hill. Some were sleeping, others watching over the flock, talking quietly, and still others lying and gazing into the star-filled heavens.

Suddenly Rufus grabbed his sleepy friend and shook him, "Joel! Joel! Are you awake? Look! Up there—in the sky! What is that? It’s getting bigger and br-brigh-ter! It’s—it’s someone—and he’s coming toward us!"

The two young boys clung fearfully to each other, dry-mouthed and trembling, watching with amazement as a heavenly being—an angel—came and talked to them. To THEM! Rufus and Joel. "Don’t be afraid!" he said. "I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone!" — Luke 2:10 (TLB)

No, Rufus, what Micah did wasn’t fair, but would you trade with him for a trip to town? God chose you to play a part on opening night of His most famous work! Fair? It didn’t seem fair, Rufus, but God turned what seemed unfair into an unforgettable night of blessing!

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"Jonathan and Sarah are engaged and all is well with them. Thomas and Phoebe get married, have a child, are reputable people in the community. But not me! The woman I chose has come up pregnant! Pregnant by whom? Dear Lord, I don’t know what to do. Oh, I love her dearly and I don’t want her to be hurt, but it’s just not fair! Why did this have to happen to me? …Well, I’ll provide an isolated place for her and put her away secretly until the child is born."

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph…do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." — Matt. 1:20 (NAS)

No, Joseph. It wasn’t fair. But what an impression you have made through the ages as a man obedient to God’s leading! How I admire you and the way you took care of Mary and Jesus. You, Joseph, the leading man in God’s story on opening night—and such a gentle, loving, courageous leading man! Would you change places with Jonathan or Thomas? No. It didn’t seem fair—I agree. But God had written your part, and your name is still up in lights as one of God’s all-stars.

Rufus and Joseph were unwittingly and perhaps unwillingly a part of the greatest story ever told. And the play goes on. There are times when I have cried, "Foul! Unfair!" But when the scene was over I realized God had chosen me in order to bless me. Oh, not that all of the events ended with "and they lived happily ever after"—hardly. But they all ended with the Author coming on stage and my being one of the first to leap to my feet and yell "Bravo! Bravo!"—awed at my role and His magnificent plot.

So the play you’re in has been running a long, long time. Remember, the play isn’t over until the Author walks on stage. Why don’t you order some roses for the finale?

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.