At my first church, someone talked me into hosting an all night youth event. (I am no longer friends with that person. In fact if you talk me into an all night youth event, we will no longer be friends either.) 🙂 As a youth pastor at a small church this is almost a requirement. To youth kids this sounds awesome. To the adult volunteers and the youth pastor this could be the worst night ever. EVERYTHING COULD GO WRONG.
You try to plan for everything and also try to come up with enough “fun” events to last all night. Now I wasn’t one of those youth pastors that planned an all-nighter and then had the kids go to bed at 1 a.m. If I was going to be forced to be there than no one was going to sleep.
The church building we were in was pretty old. In fact I am pretty sure it was built-in the 1920’s. It was a two-story building and the bottom floor doubled as a fall out shelter. At least that’s how I remember it. The bottom floor was more like a basement. The place was old, it smelled old, it looked old, it was just old. We did our best to keep it looking nice. (Except for that one time that I ripped up all the carpet, knocked down a cement wall, painted the walls bright red and the ceiling black. Needless to say I wasn’t loved by the building upkeep committee.)
So the lock in night came and I had tons of things planned. We did some early games away from the church campus so we wouldn’t have to leave the campus late at night. When we finally got back, we played a version of hide and seek. With all the lights off in a two-story building it was a hard game but I loved it. (The danger with a game like this is obvious. Lights out, a bunch of hormonal teens. Thankfully I had some amazing volunteers that were great at keeping tabs on kids and making sure I didn’t lose my job because of a lock-in gone bad.)
I can remember my hiding space to this day. I was hiding on the main floor, which happened to be the top floor because of how the property was slopped. I picked one of the class rooms and laid down in the middle of the floor. Kids are running around everywhere and all of a sudden I hear the door open to the room I am in.
For some reason this kid that has now entered my hiding space decided that if anyone is in this room they have to be against the wall and under tables. The whole time I am laying there wondering when I am going to be stepped on. The kid even starts talking to me. “I can smell you in here.” At this point I am not sure if I should be offended or not. Do I smell good or do I smell bad? Either way I think they are going to find me. About that time someone makes a noise down the hall and the kid bolts out of my class in search of what they heard. If they could have only seen they would have known I was there. But that is often our problem in life. We have trouble seeing. Maybe not physically but definitely spiritually. It’s this thing called Faith that is stronger some days than others.
This past weekend Pastor Larry preached on John 9 where Jesus heals the blind man. Below you can watch the service and see my thoughts on this passage.
I love the miracles of Jesus. These stories are the ones that come alive the most in my mind. If you look at this chapter carefully you will begin to see that everyone was blind. Maybe not physically but definitely spiritually. The disciples, his parents, the Pharisees, the crowd, they are all blind in some way because they are missing who Jesus is and he is right in front of them. They all recognize this man as being blind before and can know see. The only one who can see is the blind man. He had enough faith to do as Jesus had told him to do regardless how silly or far-fetched it sounded.
The disciples are funny because they live in my world. They can come up with two reasons that this man is blind and it has to be one of those reasons. Its and either or type of faith. It has to be rational and fit into our theology and our way of thinking. Yet Jesus always comes in with the third option and blows their mind and rattles everything they have been taught.
Often times I think my faith would be stronger if I could have seen Jesus do these miracles but then I read about the people who did see Jesus do some miraculous things first hand and they still struggled with their faith. We all struggle seeing God in parts of our life. We struggle wanting to know direction for the future, answers in a certain situation, trying to find God’s will in our life.
Dont get so stuck in your “either or” situations and miss God giving you the third option.
What area or situation are you struggling seeing God in today? What could be making you “blind” to what he is trying to do through you?
SIDENOTE: One of the things I love about Jesus is that throughout all these stories Jesus is surrounded by crowds. Sometimes the crowds consisted of thousands of people. In the midst of these crowds Jesus always saw individual people. He always saw the person and what their need was. When you and I feel like we are lost in the crowd we can know that we are still seen by Christ.