Alice, Bea, Larry and Carol had blown up the replacement balloons before I arrived. Fortunately, no one mentioned my prayers for the balloons until I jokingly reminded them.
This verse took on new meaning to me this past Sunday during Faith Promise.
Prior to coming to DeLand Nazarene, I was very involved in the ministry of a large Nazarene church in Georgia. There was an attitude within the leadership that everything had to be professional in presentation and as near perfect as possible. I am (and always have been) aware that I possess none of the "professional" or "perfect" talents that such a production would require. However, in that spirit I began some time ago attempting to accomplish some of "that" in planning the Faith Promise Sunday. Was I ever in for a shock!
The first plan involved a grand "march of the international flags" at the opening of the service. I was to borrow the flags from the former NMI President of the Atlanta First (now Gracepointe) Church. While in Georgia for the holidays, she made calls trying to locate her flags and was unable. They were either packed away some place she could not find or someone had borrowed them and not returned them. OK. Now, on to the next plan.
I had (with Pastor's permission) previously invited a soloist from another church to present the special music for the morning service. Friday night, I receive a call from Bob Caudell stating she has a cold and most likely will be unable to sing on Sunday. I begin praying for her healing like never before. Saturday afternoon I'm told she definitely will not be able to sing. I'm getting really nervous.
Saturday afternoon I'm to meet Larry and Carol in the fellowship hall to decorate the tables for the luncheon. Alice is also there helping and we all get the table cloths on the tables and ready for the "special" placemats I have planned to use ever since the PNG folks were here in the summer. Now these placemats were special in that they were decorated with the international flags that I had wanted for the service. We did a thorough search for the placemats and they no longer exist…ANYWHERE! I am now obnoxiously frustrated at this point. If you have any doubt, just ask Pastor Peter.
We continue our decorations and just as we finish with the balloons we were using, Pastor Ben enters the door stating "Those will all be down by tomorrow morning."
I screech "What are you talking about? No! They will not! I am going to pray for these balloons!" In the background I hear, "will that reflect on your prayers if they don't work?" You see, we had used all the gas in the bottle to blow up the last balloons. These balloons had better work! Sunday morning at 3 A.M. I awoke very ill. I tried to walk to the bathroom and could not stand without holding on to furniture for dear life. I was aware of an inner ear problem and began to cry out to God to give me strength to make it through the day. He heard my cry and answered that prayer. At the same time, I begged him to let the balloons continue to fly high. What pettiness.
|As I enter the sanctuary, I am so defeated I just wanted to go home. I had also requested there be no "new" choruses that morning and guess what….. The music went quite well and there was a great spirit in the song service. Miquette was the soloist for the service and she just blessed my socks off. I may have been sitting quietly in my seat weeping but on the inside, I was jumping up and down shouting GLORY! PRAISE GOD!
When the speaker spoke, God spoke through him to my heart. When he asked for those who wanted to grow closer to God to look up at him, I looked straight into his eyes.He asked for those that looked up to come forward but I did not. I "had" to go help set the food out was my excuse. I knew the food would be taken care of whether I was there or not.
By Monday morning, I was very ill. God did not cause me to be ill but He used that time to remind me of how foolish I had been. He reminded me that He is in control and NOT me. How foolish I had been in trying to manipulate ("plan") how things were to be carried out. He did not need my "help" to bless his people.
I see this experience as an awakening to my need to draw closer to the Lord. God is telling me to "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" not only in the big things but the little things of life as well.