It is the final dress rehearsal before opening night and pandemonium reigns on stage. The director slumps in the theatre’s front row, in despair of this play ever coming together. A clarinet in the orchestra pit squawks during the opening song, the leading lady forgets a key line, a background prop falls over, and the main character’s costume is too short. By the same time next evening, the theatre resounds with enthusiastic applause and cheering from the audience. Despite a disastrous dress rehearsal, the opening night is a great success. The mistakes and problems of yesterday are forgotten in the glow of an excellent performance.
A popular quote is, “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” Whoever said this has not read the Bible, which tells us this life IS a dress rehearsal, a preparation time for eternal life after death. We can choose to be forever present in the theatre of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ, or we will be perpetual players in the tragedy of hell. Either way, our lives here are but a moment, a vapor, compared to what awaits us after death. How we choose here on earth will determine where we spend eternity.
A rehearsal is defined as a preparatory event in music and theatre that is performed before the official public performance, to ensure that all details of the performance are adequate for professional presentation. If our lives are a rehearsal before the real event, what must we do to be ready? “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
Confessing Jesus as Lord of our lives saves us from eternal separation from God, and saves us for eternity in heaven with him. If we can deliver this line in our dress rehearsal with complete conviction, the actual performance will be stellar, because we will be in the presence of the Creative Director.
Accepting Jesus is just the opening line in our life drama, albeit a vital one. God will not be judging our performance, because we already have the part and it can not be taken from us. That is grace. Once we accept Jesus as Lord, our salvation is guaranteed. But we still want to do our best for the Director. How we deal with problems of this world, who we influence for good, our attitude towards God, others and ourselves, all will color our performance. The good news is that no matter how many lines we flub or cues we miss in this life, we are sure of our place on heaven’s stage.
In the theatre world it is said that a poor rehearsal makes for a good performance. Often things happen in our life which weigh us down. Difficulties, setbacks, and losses can make us want to walk off the stage, but we need to keep looking forward to the next act. Contrary to what the author of the above quote may believe, life is temporary. A new reality is waiting in heaven for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Cor. 4:17-18
When the curtain rises in heaven, will you be ready to take your place?
(The photo of the Kyiv Opera House, Kyiv, Ukraine, was taken by my daughter. We had the privilege of attending 2 ballet performances there during my visit in October, 2011)