When We Just Get Out of the Way

WORDS FROM W.W. July 20, 2011
I’m writing this in the midst of a week where I am serving as pastor for middle school church camp. Call me crazy! Just don’t call me Shirley!
Last night at campfire I was asking the campers what it was that God might do in each of their lives that could only be explained as being of God? I was using the story of Gideon, and how God reduced his army from 32,000 to 300, in God’s words, so that “Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her” (Judges 7:2). The campers weren’t quite getting what I was saying, despite my careful exegesis of the scripture passage, good Biblical terminology, and pastor-ly voice with deep feeling and awe whenever I said “GOD!!!!!”
Then one of our counselors felt led to share a personal story from her life that “put feet” on what I was trying to say.
Then one of the campers shared an experience of pain from her life in which she felt the love of God…then another camper shared about the recent death of her mother…then another camper shared about the struggles his dad was having…and another about the deployment of her mom…and another about a dreadful accident his brother had recently, and had just gotten the word that day that his sibling was going to make it.
It went on…and on…and on, but whereas, some adults might have been uncomfortable with all the sharing that these eleven to fourteen year olds were in the midst of, God took the point I had so futilely try to make, and he made it! In his way! In the language of twelve year olds!
He used the bond of shared pain to break down some walls of guarded emotions. The campers recognized that. They left that campfire with a deeper level of love for one another, and trust in the ways of God.
Sometimes our multitude of words inhibit the moving of the Spirit of the Lord. What we hope for, what I hoped for, is able to occur if we just get out of the way.
That’s a hard lesson for a preacher to learn because if we don’t use our voice we’re afraid we’ll lose our voice. Sometimes we need another Zechariah experience!

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2 Comments on “When We Just Get Out of the Way”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    Loved this post Bill,,,so true. When Larry and I lived in Maryland we sang duets for special music in our church. Many times we would go back sit down and say to ourselves that was absolutely awful. Soon we noticed that it seemed at those times when we thought we had done our absolute worst when people commented how that song had “touched” their heart or “that was absolutely beautiful”. Soon Larry and I came to realize all we had to do was give God our best and He would use it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Bill Wolf Says:

    Paster Bill, when people take the time to lisen to one another peace will come. i can only hope and pray.


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