There are times when we seem to be surrounded by doubt and discouragement. Our efforts just do not seem to be enough to get the job done. We struggle along doubting our contributions to the work as well as our self-worth. Then the Master comes alongside and encourages us not to quit because our efforts, matched with His will, make a difference regardless of what we may see.
This is beautifully illustrated in the following story told by Charles Swindoll:
Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famous composer-pianist, was scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was an evening to remember—black tuxedos and long evening dresses, a high-society extravaganza. Present in the audience that evening was a mother with her fidgety nine-year-old son. Weary of waiting, he squirmed constantly in his seat. His mother was in hopes that her son would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the immortal Paderewski at the keyboard. So—against his wishes—he had come.
As she turned to talk with friends, her son could stay seated no longer. He slipped away from her side, strangely drawn to the ebony concert grand Steinway and its leather tufted stool on the huge stage flooded with blinding lights. Without much notice from the sophisticated audience, the boy sat down at the stool, staring wide-eyed at the black and white keys. He placed his small, trembling fingers in the right location and began to play “Chopsticks.” The roar of the crowd was hushed as hundreds of frowning faces pointed in his direction. Irritated and embarrassed, they began to shout:
“Get that boy away from there!”
“Who’d bring a kid that young in here?”
“Where’s his mother?”
“Somebody stop him!”
Backstage, the master overheard the sound out front and quickly put together in his mind what was happening. Hurriedly, he grabbed his coat and rushed toward the stage. Without one word of announcement he stooped over behind the boy, reached around both sides, and began to improvise a countermelody to harmonize with and enhance “Chopsticks.”As the two of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s ear: “Keep going. Don’t quit. Keep on playing…don’t stop…don’t quit.”
And so it is with us. We hammer away on our project, which seems about as significant as “Chopsticks” in a concert hall. And about the time we are ready to give up, along comes the Master, who leans over and whispers:
Now keep going; don’t quit. Keep on…don’t stop; don’t quit, as He improvises on our behalf, providing just the right touch at just the right moment.