Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The first time I heard Leslie sing, I was standing at the bottom of a stairwell at school. Her voice flowed gracefully through the air like honey dripping from a spoon. The keys of the piano worked in rhythmic patterns, further enhancing her voice. I had never heard anything so beautiful.
I later learned Leslie was auditioning for a scholarship to one of the top universities in the nation. That afternoon she was standing in line behind me at lunch.
“You sing good,” I nervously approached a conversation with her. At 15, talking to a Senior girl is a tad intimidating. Her confused look caused me to explain further, “I heard you practicing.”
“Oh! Thank you,” she said with a smile.
“When are your auditions?” I questioned.
“This Saturday,” she responded.
“With your voice, you have nothing to worry about!”
“I don’t know about that, but it is my ticket to college,” Leslie’s eyes drifted anxiously away and I knew how important this must be for her.
Several months later, I overheard a teacher saying Leslie had not been chosen. She had made the initial cut but at the final selection, Leslie’s name was not on the list.
No matter what we do in life, sometimes we are going to be selected and other times we are not. When I consider this verse, God is not telling us everything will always work-out. He is not telling us we will always win. He is however telling us to be strong and courageous because He is always with us. The reality is, when the Creator of the Universe is on your side, the King of kings – the Lord of lords – how could we not be strong and courageous?
Leslie did not go to college her first year out of high school; she went her second year. And it wasn’t to the college she had auditioned to go and been rejected. It was to a different college called Juilliard, the world’s best institution for performing arts located in Manhattan, New York.
Years later, I coincidentally sat next to her on a plane heading to New York. She told me she sang for the New York City Opera. The opportunity to hear her story encouraged me. Leslie did not quit after she was turned down her Senior year of High School. She worked harder than ever vocally during that year after high school, and she auditioned again. Leslie told me that she did not allow her failure to rule her because she determined in her heart that she could do it – and she did. God used her disappointment to make her stronger, bolder, and more confident.
Maybe you are facing a disappointment. Maybe you are discouraged and feel you’ve hit a dead end. Realize that God is with you in every victory and every let down. Wherever you go – whatever you do – God is by your side.