Every year our church has what we call “the Primary Program.” It’s an opportunity for all of the children (ages 3-11) to share with the congregation what they have learned throughout the year and sing the songs that have become near and dear to them.
Last fall, R, having just turned five, had come up with his part all on his own and had recited it over and over. His little one-liner memorized, the songs etched in his heart, he had all appearances of being not only ready, but eager to share with the congregation what he felt and had learned.
The day finally came, and I could feel him tremble as he grasped my hand to be escorted to his seat with his friends at the front. As I walked back to our bench, I turned to see his face full of panic and anxiety. His sweet teacher leaned in to him and gave him a hug, and I remember trying to comfort myself with the thought, “His teacher will help him, he’ll be fine!” The program began, and so did R’s silent tears. I could almost hear his trembling voice as the children sang. His teacher patted his back, gave him little hugs, but to no avail. I saw her lean in and ask him a question which I imagine had something to do with going back down to sit with his family. Tears still streaming, he shook his head decidedly no. My heart strings were pulling in every direction. He had practiced so hard! If only God would grant him the fortitude to make it through. His turn came, and slowly he walked to the microphone. “I can show my love to Heavenly Father by serving others and being a good example to my brothers.” His voice was only a whisper. I could tell I was not the only one crying as I heard sniffles across the chapel. The darling lady sitting behind me comfortingly squeezed my shoulder. Inside my mind I prayed. “Thank you, Heavenly Father, for granting him courage!”
As the program ended, numerous people approached me about R’s bravery. They were in awe as much as I was at the determination that little five-year-old boy had shown. Clearly he’d stolen the show.
A few Sundays ago the children stood again at the front of the congregation. Little R’s face beamed with pride as he sang the songs, and when his turn came, he proudly spoke into the microphone. Relief and happiness swept over me.
“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me…” the children sang. My thoughts were filled with the previous year’s memories, and I was overcome with amazement of the love and courage that had been granted to a nervous five-year-old boy. Such a simple act, but his tears had touched everyone watching.
I hope we can all find that courage a little child found many Sundays ago through God’s loving grace. When we turn to Him, so much is possible.