This is Jakob standing on the windowsill of our hotel room last week. We were 11 stories up, partially overlooking the Ohio River. Facing this way, we were overlooking the other side of the hotel and N 4th St in Louisville, KY.
Last week, Sarah and Jakob came with me to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Quick promo before the point of the post: that was definitely the best conference I had ever attended. I learned more than I ever have, and I just scratched the surface. I didn’t have time to learn everything. But when I wasn’t in classes or general sessions, I was trying to spend time with my family, which was just as important to me as the conference. Having the conference within driving distance made it possible or them to go, and that was a real blessing to me.
The afternoon of the opening session, there were some crazy tornados north of us in Indiana. I presume you’ve heard about that. It was windy in Louisville, but according the weather channel, we didn’t have any warnings. So the three of us went for a walk to the bank and then down to Hard Rock Cafe. We didn’t want to eat there, because it’s kind of expensive, so we just walked around. After Jakob made it clear he didn’t want to be in there – which became clear to him when he got to sit by a drum set without any drumsticks – we headed back outside. I had a tense feeling about being on the street, though, so everyone that passed by got stared at by me. I felt like my Spidey senses were tingling (*ht Bryan Keeley). Danger was around us somewhere.
As we headed north on 4th Street, my danger senses were going crazy. I looked up the road and saw a pick up truck with a lot of lumber in the back, parked next to the curb right before a stoplight. I looked at Sarah and said, “We’re going to walk fast, so we don’t get stopped on that corner.” I grabbed her hand and pulled her faster than her normal speed limit. We hustle to the corner and just catch the light just as it goes to a flashing “Do Not Walk,” so we continued quickly to the other side. Once we reached the other side of the road, we heard the wind pick up violently behind us. I turned at the sound and saw boards go flying off the back of the truck and knock two large construction workers over with brut force. A third took a dive to try to avoid the boards, but he was covered by them lying on the ground. Had we not hurried and crossed the street, we would have been standing right there. Sarah would have taken at least one 2×4 right in the face. Jakob may have been trampled as we scrambled to get between him and the boards. It would have definitely been a dangerous situation.
After seeing that, we went into the sandwich shop just in front of us and decided to stay in there a while. I was shaken up. I realized my inability to protect my family. I kept going over what I saw and what could have happened, and as best as I could figure it, I probably could have pulled Sarah out of the way, but to do so, I would have torn up her knees. It’s more likely that I wouldn’t have had time, and she would have been seriously injured in the face. I felt weak. I was shaken up.
Two hours later, I sat in general session listening to Francis Chan speak. He spoke about the arrogance of being in ministry, and how pastors often feel like everything is on us. We ask God to be involved in our ministries, but when we cannot be there personally, we think it’s the end of the world. Like God can’t do great things through anybody, right? He was speaking strictly about ministry, but I felt my heart stir. I felt like God was saying, “See! You ask me everyday to protect them, and I did! Get over yourself!” Heart punch.
I was reminded of a great lesson. Real faith asks God and believes He will accomplish it. It shows a real lack of faith to ask God to handle something in your life and then act like it can’t happen unless you do it. That’s faith in you, not God. I’d rather place my faith in Him, especially after I was reminded of my own vulnerability last week.