Finding God Faithful

How surviving shyness, cancer, and a prodigal daughter helped Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's director, Carol Cymbala, discover the truth about God

The world-renowned 275-member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir made its grand entrance at New York City's Radio City Music Hall to a sold-out crowd of 6,000 people. As the lights came up and the choir began, the audience rose to its feet cheering. And right in front of the choir, beautifully poised, stood its director and founder, Carol Cymbala.

It's hard to believe this competent, four-time Grammy Award-winning musical director and songwriter has no formal musical training and doesn't read music. It's even more surprising to discover that mere moments before making her stage entrance, Carol was in her dressing room frantically fighting the urge to run away because she suffers from acute shyness. "I was a nervous wreck," Carol says. "I kept thinking, I'm going to make a complete fool of myself and the choir I love. All I could do was pray."

Throughout much of Carol's life, she's had to rely solely on prayer. A woman who prefers to stay in the background, Carol's had to deal with deep-seated feelings of insecurity: Frequently ill as a child, she missed a lot of school and was an average student; she's an introvert working in a field largely consisting of extroverts; she's a white woman in the midst of an ethnically diverse church. Carol admits, "I'm never quite confident I can do what God wants me to. In fact, I'm certain I can't unless God does something. But the beautiful thing is, he does do something. … time and again." God's proven himself faithful to Carol in the toughest of times. And she's had them.

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Ginger E. Kolbaba

Ginger Kolbaba is the author of Desperate Pastors' Wives and The Old Fashioned Way. Connect with her on Twitter @gingerkolbaba.

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May 25

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