Do you ever wonder why your local fire department issues and lifts burn bans alternatively? Especially when you live in a rural area like I do. Sometimes, the city is fine with a little backyard camp fire. And other times, you’ll hear sirens if you so much as light a candle. Most people know the answer to this question. It’s because when the heat is so bad outside, and when the ground is dry and withered, it’s very easy for even the most cautious of people to lose control of a fire and cause some serious destruction.
Tonight (or rather last night, since we’re now in the AM hours), my church hosted an event they call Ignited. It’s geared towards teens, but lots of adults were there, too. We did drama skits, the band played, and Joey, our youth leader, gave a few words. It was a fantastic night. Towards the end, all of us teens (okay… teens plus me) were gathered around the stage, praying and worshiping God. And Joey leaned over me from the stage. He said, “I think if you let Bro. Ed pray over you, God’s got a word for you.”
I did NOT want to go.
It had nothing to do with being in the spotlight. It had nothing to do with Joey or Bro. Ed or my peers. It had very little to do with anyone. My dread was in my fear. If God had a word for me, I must’ve been in trouble.
As a child, when your parents called your name, you sometimes got really scared. Didn’t you? And the fear came from either the way they said your name, or it came because you did something wrong and instantly feared that they found out about it. So when the fear set in tonight, my first thought was, I’m about to be found out. I can’t say I have secret sins or chains, but I certainly have secret shame that’s better kept to myself. You don’t have a salvation story like mine and not have a little shame sprinkled here and there. And I don’t know about your church… But in my church, God can’t keep a secret. If you have ulterior motives, God will tell our leaders on you. Steal from the offering plate? I doubt anyone would, but if they did, God is going to tell. Change who you are on Sundays? They know. Again, I express that that’s not the case with me. But I do have a layer that no one should ever see. I have a shame that won’t die. I’ve never shared it with anyone, and highly doubt I ever will. So going to a church with people who have angels over for dinner on a regular basis, it’s intimidating. When will they know? When will they kick me out? I approached Bro. Ed shaking. Was this my condemnation?
No… No, it wasn’t. God’s word for me was that He was about to pour His favor out on me, and that He was lining up events in my life that would bring me to who I would be. He told me I would have peace. This man didn’t know me from Adam, and yet… In the light of my family’s past dramatic year, peace is all I ever asked for. And, Tuesday, I got a job. Praise God… I’ve been unemployed for almost two years. And it’s a job that could easily become a career, and the pay isn’t too shabby, either. So, he didn’t know me, but God did, and spoke through Him. It was like Jesus walking into the room where Thomas was at, and Jesus just said, “Step aside,” to everyone else, so He could let me touch his scars for myself.
I’ve yet to feel like I’m just going through the motions. Assuredly, motions aren’t something I’ve never experienced, but it’s been a while. Even so, I’ve felt so dry. I’ve felt loneliness, worst of all. And I’ve felt fear. I’ve worried myself over who is saying and doing what, people who would do anything in the world to see me fall down. I’ve hidden in my basement, terrified of who might be at my door when the knocking starts, and wondering if it’s some of my family become enemies. I wanted to run away. I had the chance to move to another state, and I stayed. I stayed… Why? It was because God told me there was going to be a fire. And I didn’t want to miss it.
And when you’re dry, dry to the bone… It won’t take much more than a spark to set your heart on fire. The drier something is, the easier it ignites. Thank God.