It’s been a while. I didn’t mean to be quiet so long, but we are on vacation and the WiFi doesn’t work too well in the campground. We’re back at the Family Camp we go to every year. You might remember last year my son fell out of the camper. That camp. Thankfully no one has fallen out of the camper this year and it’s been wonderful and relaxing and challenging all at the same time. Challenging in a good way. It’s our church camp so we’ve had morning and evening sessions and one of our Free Methodist Bishops, David Roller, has been here speaking and sharing with us. He’s been a missionary in Latin America for many years and now he resides in our old neighborhood in Baltimore and oversees the eastern part of the United States and the UK. So his wisdom, enthusiasm and love for the Christ and the church is contagious.
I’ve been preparing for a sermon. I’ll be preaching in a few weeks and I’ve been looking at 1 Samuel 16. Samuel has the task of finding and anointing the next King of Israel. The Lord is pretty clear with Samuel that he’s not to look at outward appearance. God’s also clear that it will be one of Jesse’s son’s. So Jesse has all of his sons pass by Samuel and Samuel rejects them all. What to do? He can’t be talking about that little guy out tending the sheep? He certainly doesn’t fit the leadership description of a king? He wasn’t first born, he wasn’t tall and strong. He was a small sheep herder.
There was a time in my life that I had to decide that despite my feelings of inadequacy, that God had gifted me in ministry and that if He opened the door I would walk through it, wherever that might take me, and I would serve faithfully. My ministry changed after my second child was born to fully care for them and then of course, cancer. Which in a weird way became my ministry I suppose through this blog. So now I’m here and I’m looking at the new door that God has opened for me and I’m feeling pretty inadequate. Maybe I don’t feel as strong as I once was. Maybe it’s a loss I’ll never get over. Maybe I thought I was strong before and I’ve realized I’m not as strong as I was. Maybe the reality of the randomness of life has invaded my spirit? I don’t know. I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared for leadership.
Maybe that’s how David felt when he stood against Goliath. Did he really think he could slay goliath? Maybe what we see of David in this passage is David trying to be brave? Maybe he was trying to convince himself he could do it when he said “I’ve hit a lion and a bear squarely on the head” to protect the sheep I care for?” (17:34) He’d done it before, but could he do it again? Did he have any reservations?
There was one time in my life that I was crazy enough to pursue an internship in Washington D.C. and I ended up interning for the White House. Was I prepared for that. Not at all! But the question is…did I know I wasn’t prepared….lol? Or when I interviewed and got the job as the festival director for Ichthus? A festival with more than 20,000 people? Was I really prepared for that? No, I wasn’t. I just thought it would be a really cool job. It was. And I loved it and I did it, and the festival grew. Was I just naive to think I was capable? I think I was….lol! But I’m reminding myself God opened those doors despite my naivety, just as he’s opening doors for me now.
Here’s what David says about God. “The God who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.”
So I stand, facing my giants, and I’m reminding myself that the God who walked with me in youthful naivety, pain in ministry and healing my cancer is the one who is standing with me now in ministry and no matter how inadequate I feel he is still there. I hope if you’re standing on this side of loss, healing or pain you feel his presence too.