84: My Speech Day Song

84: My Speech Day Song

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

My Speech Day Song

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.

~Malcolm Muggeridge

As I boarded the school bus that morning, my heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty. I had begged Mom to let me stay home from school that day, but she knew I wasn’t really sick — just scared. But who wouldn’t be? After all, it was Speech Day, the scariest day in all of seventh grade.

And if getting up in front of my classmates wasn’t bad enough, I also had to worry about the content of my speech. The assignment was to write a speech about someone we admired. Most of my friends had picked actresses and sports stars, even former presidents. I’d chosen Joni Eareckson, a Christian woman who had become a quadriplegic after a diving accident as a teenager. But instead of being angry about her injury, she used it to reach out to other people and help them overcome their own problems. While I truly admired Joni Eareckson for all that she had been through, I worried about what my classmates would think. I really just wanted to fit in with everyone else, and I worried that people might make fun of me for writing my speech about a Christian.

I sat on the school bus that morning, sure I was going to be sick to my stomach. This was the worst day ever. And then the bus driver turned on the radio, something she’d never done before.

To distract myself, I paid careful attention to the song playing. I’d never heard it before, but I kind of liked it. The chorus went, “It’s all right, I think we’re gonna make it.” As I listened to the words, a peace came over me. My breathing slowed and my stomach calmed. I didn’t know why, but the song just made me feel better.

The chorus played again. “It’s all right, I think we’re gonna make it.” While intellectually, I knew the song was probably about a romantic relationship, emotionally, I was convinced that God was speaking to me through that song. As I listened, I focused on the word “we.” It reminded me that I wasn’t alone. God was with me on that bus, and He would be with me when I read my speech later that day. I really believed that things were going to be all right because God was with me.

A few hours later, I went to my English class, where I would read my speech to the class. I felt nervous again, but not nearly as bad as before. I kept reminding myself of the song’s words. “It’s all right, I think we’re gonna make it.” And I knew that God was there with me. When the teacher called my name, I took a deep breath, smiled at my classmates, and started to read my speech.

When I finished, my classmates clapped, just like they did for everyone else. No one teased me about my speech, and the teacher gave me a good grade.

Everything had turned out all right, just like the song said.

That night, I called the leader of my church’s youth group and told her about my experience. “I know it was probably just a coincidence,” I said, suddenly embarrassed that I was making such a big deal out of a simple song.

But she said, “No, it wasn’t. There is no such thing as a coincidence.”

“It was just a song,” I said again.

“Didn’t you say this was the first time the bus driver ever turned on the radio? And how did that particular song just happen to be playing?” she pointed out. “God made those things happen because He knew you needed His comfort.”

And I knew that she was right. If God knows every hair on my head, surely He knows when I’m afraid and need to feel His presence.

My seventh grade speech day was a long time ago now, but I’ve never forgotten that day. It was the first time in my life that God felt real to me. I know it was just a song, but God used it to show me that He really does care about every aspect of my life, no matter how small.

Maybe my speech day song was just an amazing coincidence, but that day, it felt like a miracle.

~Diane Stark

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