God’s help in a wedding
about nine months after dealing with socially triggered panic attacks, I was asked to be an usher in a relative’s wedding. They had asked my brother if he and I would be ushers, and he had said yes for me. Neither my relative nor my brother knew that it would be impossible for me to be an usher, without completely falling apart. It had nothing to do with my shyness or lack of trust in God. Prior to my panic attacks I had gone evangelizing 3 - 4 times a week, and I had spoken at 4 unrelated events, with 30 - 100 people at each event. But now I couldn’t even look close friends in the face, and no matter how hard I prayed or tried, I couldn’t keep my face from frowning or looking like I’m about to cry, sometimes my voice would even start to quiver. Because my brother had already said I would usher, I decided to pray about it before calling to let them know I couldn’t do it. I didn’t receive any noticeable answer from prayer, so I decided to call and cancel. A week or two went by and I still hadn’t gotten around to calling them, I told myself, I still have plenty of time, I’ll call them next weekend. But every time I was free to call them, either they were at work, or I didn’t have my phone on me, or I forgot, or something else would come up. This went on till there were only two weeks before the wedding. It was really weird and embarrassing to me that I hadn’t succeeded in calling them yet. Between trying to call, I had been praying that God would show me his will about being an usher, and I had a growing desire to see God get me through the wedding as an usher. The only problem was, I had no strong assurance that he would. So, I told myself I’m for sure going to cancel this weekend. But weird things happened and I forgot again. It got down to the Wednesday before the wedding, which was on a Saturday. I was starting to believe that my inability to cancel was God’s answer to my prayer. But I still didn’t have peace about it, so I told my brother to join me in prayer about the situation, before I left for work that day. At work, I decided to mention that I was supposed to be an usher, to my coworker. I don’t talk much with my coworkers, because they don’t care about God, and God is all I care about, so when either of us think of something to say we always stop and listen. When I started one of my rare conversations, my coworker cut me off, which I don't think he's done before or since. He said, I would cancel if I were you, because I was an usher once, and it was the worst two days of my life! I immediately took this as an answer from God, even though it came from a man who followed Satan as closely as I followed Jesus. Nothing was going to stop me from canceling this time! I had prayed earnestly for an answer, and this seemed as clear a word as any. But about five minutes after my resolution to get out of this wedding, I remembered how these loud seemingly clear answers are not always from God. Like when God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice, but not in the whirlwind or the earthquake.¹ I had a strong desire to see God do something in my life and I really believed that God had been the one keeping me from canceling so far. I also had a growing peace about being an usher, and a growing confidence that God would help me. The rehearsal day came and I was falling apart, I had no idea how God would get me through it, but he worked out the details. I was able to sneak in the back, while the wedding coordinator explained the basic plan. I was really struggling, even though no one was looking at me, but seemingly random coincidences such as funny jokes by an uncle, or being able to slouch behind the guy in front of me, kept me pretty under control. When I got home, I knew for sure that if God didn't intervene, there was no way I would get through this wedding. I was so worried, that I actually considered not going. That night I pleaded with God to carry me through this wedding. Daniel did a similar thing in the scriptures; God had promised to set the Israelites free from captivity after seventy years. But right before the seventieth year, Daniel fasted and prayed for God to do what he promised. God doesn't lie, and he already said he would do what Daniel was praying for, but me and Daniel both prayed earnestly, that God would do what he said.² I remember driving to the wedding and almost sweating because of the anxiety, which I knew could alter my face in an instant, no matter how hard I tried to smile. God answered my prayer and carried me through all twelve hours of the wedding (9:00 AM - 9:00 PM). Before I share some of the details, I should mention that my two biggest fears about ushering were, that I would be grimacing as I greeted the guests, and that I would be frowning in the wedding pictures. When I arrived at the wedding, I was greeted by a man I had never met before. He was bubbling over with kind words and he took the attention off me as we waited for the guests. Right before the guests started arriving, I was given a stack of bulletins to fold and told to lead some of the guests to their seats. This was the first wedding I’ve gone to with only two doors and three ushers. Not only did I get out of greeting guests, but God provided a stack of unfolded bulletins to keep me occupied. When it came time for the wedding pictures, God worked it out so that the photographer was late, and only had time to take a few family photos before the next event. I wasn't even asked to be in a picture. When the wedding coordinator informed me that I was supposed to release the guests, row by row, I had seen God do so many things already, that I was actually excited to see what he would do next. Instead of manipulating the situation, God gave me just enough strength to smile, or have a straight face. I don't remember frowning even once as I released the rows. I can see now that God had definitely been the one leading me to be an usher, and the enemy had been the one trying to deter me. God did many other things, so that by the end of that day, my faith was greatly strengthened, and I was overflowing with thankfulness.
① 1 Kings 19:11-13 ② Daniel 9:2-3
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