Why didn’t I get the part?

From the first day I walked through the big doors of my high school, I had a dream of being in the senior play. I practiced my lines until I knew them almost by heart, and I even prayed about getting a role. I felt sure God would help me.

It finally came down to one other girl and me. She was five foot three with brown hair. I was five foot seven and a half with blond hair. The student playing the mother in the play was five foot nine with brown hair. I could hear the directors making the decision to give the part to the other girl. My dream went out the window.

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I couldn’t help feeling like I had done something wrong, or like God had ignored my prayers. Why hadn’t everything worked out the way I wanted it to? If God really loved me, why didn’t I get the part? 

Even though I was feeling frustrated with God, it was still my first instinct to pray about things that felt unresolved. So I turned to prayer again, trying to find answers and to overcome my disappointment.

I knew from attending Christian Science Sunday School that I could pray about feeling content even if I didn’t get a part. I’d read a passage in Proverbs that says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6). I still felt pretty heartbroken over not getting a role in the play, but I wanted to trust God and His guidance. When I did ask God for direction, I got an answer right away, but it wasn’t what I expected. The idea that came was to try to help make the play better for other people. 

Why hadn’t everything worked out the way I wanted it to? 

While it wasn’t wrong for me to pray about my own desires, now I knew my goal needed to be serving God rather than seeking my own glory. I read this passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 that made this even clearer to me: “To love, and to be loved, one must do good to others. The inevitable condition whereby to become blessed, is to bless others: but here, you must so know yourself, under God’s direction, that you will do His will even though your pearls be downtrodden” (p. 127). 

Thinking about all this from a different perspective helped me understand that prayer was about so much more than what I thought was best for me; it was about learning how to follow God, how to love Him more and serve Him better. Humility, and an inner desire to be kind and help others, became my prayer. 

I started to see that getting the specific part in the play wasn’t as important as I’d thought it was. Turning to God was important, and it was such a gift to feel that my goals were for spiritual growth. I took on a role as a makeup artist for the play and concentrated on how I could help. I began to feel my self-pity disappear as I thought of the good I could do for others and not just for myself. It was so rewarding to be part of a creative effort in which each of us had a special role to play. During production, our director even made it a point to tell me that he knew how much I’d wanted to be in the play and how much he respected my attitude and unselfish way of giving. 

Nothing had stopped me from giving my God-given gifts.

Rather than push me away from God, not getting the part actually drew me closer to Him, because I began to understand that I had gotten what I’d prayed for . . . it just didn’t come in the form I’d been expecting initially. Beneath my goal to be in the play had been a desire to share joy, express creativity, and to share my love of art. I got to do all those things and more. Nothing had stopped me from giving my God-given gifts. In fact, my very own special role in that play taught me that there are many ways for each of us to give, and God will always show us how and where and when we can do that best.

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