June 15, 2015

Through fun and engaging storytelling, Theo teaches children God’s word and how they ought to live in light of it.

The Symphony of Waiting

Symphony Orchestra

Most people have had the pleasure of attending an orchestral event of some kind.  If not an orchestral event, then a musical presentation—ensemble, amateur or professional, either staged in a civic center, outdoor amphitheater or on an auditorium stage at school or church.

My wife and I are fortunate to attend a church where the Word of God is taught faithfully, but it is a church that also sits a full archestra every other week, with a large choir.  The music and choral arrangements are truly inspiring, each arrangement clearly to the praise and glory of God.

One Sunday I happened to notice the musician at the timpani (kettle drums).  He would pound the skins every so often and then sit back, timpani sticks in hand, waiting for notes on the music sheet and conductor to signal him.  He wasn’t looking around, he didn’t appear to be bored; instead his eyes were fixed upon the music in front of him, upon the conductor, following along as he awaited his turn to play.

Then I noticed other musicians that were sitting, not playing.  The violin section was staring rapt at their music, turning pages.  Likewise the cellist, the flutists, the brass section.  And then, on cue, each lifted his or her instruments and played their parts as their music directed.  The choir sang on cue, their voices angelic.  It was all so beautiful and moving.

Then I looked back at the man at the timpani, still sitting, still waiting, sticks in hand, and I wondered: is he tired of waiting?  Does he feel unimportant or wonder if the conductor had forgotten him?


"Wait" lifting builds character

No one likes to wait.  By nature we want things now.  We want our meals served hot and fast, cooked just the way we like them.  Better not make me wait for a coffee refill.  Human nature.

But God is no hurry; however, He is always on time.  And further, He isn’t a waiter.  He doesn’t always give us what we want when we want it.  He wants us to wait upon Him.  Why?  Here are a few reasons:

  1. Waiting reveals our true motives (are my prayers me-centered, or God-centered).
  2. Waiting builds a trust in God (I believe that God knows what He’s doing, therefore I will trust Him as I wait).
  3. It tests our mettle (I will not quit, I will persevere, no matter what or for how long).
  4. Waiting prepares us for God’s answer. 

Yes, it does.


Let's make a Theo

I created Theo in 1978.  I was 27 years old.  I’d graduated Bible college with a degree in English Literature and Theology.  I had been in the animation business for about a year.  One day I saw how I could teach children the Word of God, using cartoons as my pulpit.  I asked God to provide financing for the project (a lot of money!).  But He said, “Wait.”  

I kept asking God, day after day, month after month.  The months became years.  Wait.  But the world needs this, God, I kept telling Him.  It needs it now.  Why aren’t you answering my prayers?  Well, of course, He had been all along.  It isn’t time yet, son.

I waited.

And then after 30 years of waiting God miraculously (I don’t use the word lightly) provided the funding!  Hallelujah!

Why did He take so long to answer?  

First of all, I think it was because I wasn’t ready to produce Theo at the time.  I needed years of experience before I was ready.  I had to learn the animation business from the ground up, working at every level, perfecting my craft.  

Secondly, God needed to prepare the man.  I needed to mature spiritually, emotionally, creatively.

Thirdly, my son Brandon, who hadn’t been born yet, would be needed to help me complete the task.  He would become my right hand man, a gift that I could not have done without.  I didn’t know that in 1978.  God knew.  Had He answered my prayers early on, it would have been a disaster on so many levels.


heaven is listening 

Back to my orchestra metaphor.  Can you imagine what would happen if the timpanist, tired of waiting for the piano solo to finish, suddenly decided to improvise an “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” drum interlude?  Or what would happen if one or two of the cellists decided to play ahead of schedule?  Or even play a different piece of music?  Cacophony would ensue.  The conductor would throw down his baton, the musicians would cease playing, the audience would disperse and demand their money back from the management.

A symphony is a musical composition, usually written for an orchestra, with several movements that each build to a climax.

A symphony is written with a theme running throughout.  I believe that God has been conducting His Grand Symphony since before the creation of the universe. The theme is Redemption, with movements consisting of songs of praise to the glory of His Son Jesus.  These movements have been building throughout the millennia to a grand climax, at which time Jesus Christ, accompanied by an orchestra of a myriad instruments and voices—both angelic and saintly—will descend in glory to the earth.

Until that great day, God has called His children to perform in His Symphony.  He has given gifts to each of us through His Holy Spirit, according to His good purpose.  And like any good conductor, He expects us to practice at our gifts daily, so that when the notes on the sheet music call for us to lift our instruments, we will play with excellence, to the glory of God.

So whether you are waiting on God to answer a specific prayer, provide a ministry opportunity, or bring a loved one to Christ, keep praying expectantly, keep trusting joyfully, and keep hoping knowingly.

God’s timing is always perfect.  His musical score contains the exact number of notes to compose the glorious Symphony of Redemption.  Keep waiting, trusting, with your eyes fixed upon Jesus.  And when the Great Conductor signals to you with His baton, play well!   

All of heaven is listening.

Michael Joens