stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

I was in Philadelphia last week with our youth group for a mission trip. As always, it was a great time. We’ll share a lot more on that in an upcoming service. I just want to share a small thing that happened. It’s small in content, but not in significance.

Every evening, we have church group devotions. It is by far my favorite part of each day on the trip. I get to hear everyone’s one big thing (favorite moment they’d like to share from their day), and then I get to lead our students and leaders in a devotion. It does put some pressure on me, since I’m busy all day but have to write a devotion at some point. God’s always been faithful to lead me, though. I had never missed one or even come close to not getting one done. I always end up with something to say, and it’s always applicable to what our group is experiencing.

I did come close to not getting one done this year. It was Friday night. I had a topic picked that I thought was what God wanted. But every time I tried to write it, nothing would happen. My mind couldn’t even grapple with it. We got to evening worship, which immediately preceded our church group devotions. Fortunately for me, there were a mix up, and there weren’t enough seats. I was left without one. I went to the lobby to just write. I still couldn’t get anywhere, though. I was frustrated. I lamented my lack of progress to Isaac, who was also left without a seat and had joined me in the hall. I don’t remember what he said back to me, but I do remember realizing a short time later that I hadn’t really prayed about it. I had a good idea. Three other people on the trip had mentioned the same topic to me. I assumed that was God affirming it. I never asked, though.

I stopped what I was doing to pray. I asked God to either open my mind to be able to write on that topic, or if I was supposed to be talking about something else, please tell me right away. I sat there for a moment, and I heard God. He said, “Psalm 23.” He said only two words. I immediately flipped to Psalm 23, read it, and started writing. I didn’t stop writing until it was done two pages later. No breaks, no struggles, and no distractions. It was one of the more profound moments on the trip for me, not because of any lesson I learned from it – which I did – but because God spoke to me. He didn’t say a lot. He didn’t say anything that revolutionized the way I live my life. That doesn’t matter to me, though. Just to have reaffirmed that God still speaks, and that He would deign to speak to me, was enough for me.

God does still speak. It won’t always be loud. It won’t always turn your world upside down. But it should always change you. There’s something special about a God that speaks to people that don’t even deserve to be in a relationship with Him in the first place. I hope you’re giving yourself time to listen.

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