‘Lo, I am with you alway’
GOD’S GUIDANCE IN MY MUSICAL CAREER HAS FELT EVIDENT EVER SINCE I WAS GROWING UP. The Bible and music were very important in my home. Solos in church and school were fun. As my talent developed, larger opportunities arrived, and I thanked God for strength and confidence.
After college graduation a number of years ago, I was accepted to a very prestigious, tuition-free music institute, where I met a singing coach who became my mentor and who encouraged me to audition abroad in various opera houses. I prayed for guidance and courage to travel alone. Initially performances and teaching in public schools provided funds. I then found myself in a large city in Europe, with a two-year contract in a major opera house, which expanded to five years.
I reached out to God in prayer since I didn’t speak the local language. A gentle angel-message reminded me, “God is in your heart.” I knew that no matter what, even without my knowing the language, God was guiding me and would show me how to live in this city that was all new to me.
Settling into my apartment, without parental protection, was a big adjustment for me, but I knew that God was ever present, as I continued giving thanks for this new opportunity. I read my Bible as never before, and took language lessons at a local university.
These citations were being proven to me day by day—“Lo, I am with you alway” as said by Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:20), and “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. . . . to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 494).
I felt the light of divine Truth, the comfort of divine Principle, the presence and foundation of divine Love embracing me.
At one point, the opera house was putting on an opera by a well-known composer. The opera house had two sopranos to sing a major role. I was allowed to learn the role, complete with staging, but only for my personal repertoire and not to perform since my skin is neither light nor my hair blonde. Two weeks before opening night, both sopranos were ill and couldn’t perform. That left me. I later learned that the manager of the opera house was very opposed to my performing that role and wanted to engage a guest soprano since I didn’t look the part. But the production director threatened to leave if I didn’t get to sing the part.
Knowing that God was my true conductor, coach, and the source of my confidence and all my abilities, and receiving encouragement from a professional theater friend, I sang the role of the bouncy, blonde character with ease and much success.
God continued to truly meet my need when I thought we were scheduled to have a follow-up rehearsal after the opening. When I walked in and was in place to rehearse, the director of the production told me very plainly, in front of all the cast, whom he had gathered for witnesses, that because he had gotten me the opening night performance, I must now “pay” him and spend one night with him. As I looked around at my colleagues, and they reluctantly confirmed his purpose, he told me that I must consent and that everyone must hear my answer.
I knew that I had been praying day and night to God for guidance. It was my desire not only to live a moral, God-centered life, but also to maintain honor and respect for my family back in the United States. This internationally known director wanted an immediate, loud answer from me as he continued to tell me I had no choice but to agree. At that very moment, I felt the light of divine Truth, the comfort of divine Principle, the presence and foundation of divine Love embracing me, in which we all live and move and have our being (see Acts 17:28), including that director.
As I felt the truth of that spiritual basis of our being, that present scene felt completely unreal to me (not of God). As such, it also became very humorous to me. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at what, to me, was nothing but a joke. Loudly I said, “No!” As I said it, I felt divinely protected. The director told me not to laugh because it was serious. But laughing, I walked off stage. The stage manager, standing by the door, told me not to go because it was for real. But I knew such an immoral demand couldn’t stand in the light of God, who is indeed all good, “our refuge and strength,” and a “very present help” in times of need (Psalms 46:1). God created us spiritually and governs each of us always.
This statement from Science and Health describes what took place. Referring to sin or sickness, it states: “Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin” (p. 390). I knew that God is absolutely not the author of sin, and I was blessed to dismiss it right then and there. It was truly illegitimate.
That was the end of the director’s overtures to me. He was a guest director for that opera, and he left before the production concluded. I never saw him again, and I can honestly say I truly forgave him. I went on to perform successfully at the opera house for the rest of my contract and its renewal.
Trusting God to guide every aspect of our lives, we find care, protection, well-being, fulfillment, and deep joy.