How to Face Surprises in Life: The Second Fiddle Secret

Stew on This: Here’s a Spiritual Perspective on Surprises in Life or Ministry…

Written By: Glenn C. Stewart

How to Face Surprises in Life: The Second Fiddle Secret

Stew on This Resources for PastorsMany years ago, I read one of Chuck Swindoll’s early books, Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back. One illustration he cited stuck with me. Leonard Bernstein, the Celebrate Orchestra conductor, was once asked, “What is the hardest instrument to play?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists. But to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem! And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”

Spiritually speaking, to live in harmony with God, only He can play first chair. We must be willing to play “second fiddle.” To do that, we must face the unexpected with humility. Humility means, even if you think you can’t see your way through – you stop fighting against it and start looking for God in it. And, as a servant, you need to be willing to do whatever He is directing you to do. Don’t worry about God getting through to you. God wants you to know His will more than you want to know it. Worry instead about whether you will do it when He shows it.

Tips to Handle Unexpected Situations:

So, what about that unexpected situation in your life or ministry? How do you deal with it?

  • Accept it – God is at work, even in difficult circumstances.
  • Humble yourself – Don’t set the agenda, discover God’s agenda from His Word.
  • Trust God – Even against all your emotions, the voices of others, and what you see – do life God’s way.

Inspiring Scriptures About Being Humble:


“Though the lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud,” (Psalm 138:6, NLT). 


“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts,’” (Isaiah 57:15, NLT).


“In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you,” (1 Peter 5:5-6, NLT).


Every hard or unexpected situation may be an opportunity to obey God and serve Him in a way you never dreamed. Are you letting go? You’ll find peace when you say, “I am your servant Lord, may it be to me according to Your will, not my own.”


  1. Chuck Swindoll, “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back by Charles Swindoll,”, accessed August 30, 2017,

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