This past week I had the amazing opportunity to go and make disciples. It was a straightforward, Matthew 28:19 mission.
I was pumped, and excited, and ready to pour into the same campers I’ve had for three years now and share with them again what God was doing in my life. It was a straightforward mission. Facilitate, be there, make disciples, love. Simple.
Until suddenly it wasn’t.
Suddenly my expectations for the week were shaken to the core, and I realized that it isn’t always our job to finish the gospel, because we don’t have the power to save anyone. Sometimes it’s our job to start the gospel conversation, to stir up the dust on what pieces are already there until they begin to form the bigger picture.
Are you hearing me? Because this is tough stuff.
Sometimes we have to take advantage of the opportunity given to us in the middle of someone else’s failure. And as easy as it would have been to shrug it off with a, “that was their job and they failed, tremendously” or even as “I’m just a cabin leader, a facilitator, and I’m not really equipped to be both a preacher and a teacher,” I saw the body of Godly cabin leaders step up and take advantage of the amazing opportunity to be the ones to share the gospel with those kids.
Even in the fear. Even in the disappointment. Even when we felt like failures.
One of the major problems I see with Christians today is that we give ourselves way too much credit for the spread of the gospel.
We forget that the power of the prayer is in the one who receives it and not the one who recites it.
It becomes about numbers and giving ourselves the glory for how many people heard the word of the Lord, and how many people raised their hands in worship and how many students sat through the entire message and we completely forget to thank the one who gave us the ability to witness any of it, the one who opened the door for us to “Go.”
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
It’s simple in words, but not so simple to implement. Sometimes we want to let others do the work, the nitty gritty of the details of the gospel and just swing by the finish line at the end for the hugs and reception.
If I could make a list all of the times I have failed God and failed His purpose and plans and the opportunities He has given me to share about His love… I would run out of paper in a heartbeat. But God knows my humanity, and choses to work through my life in spite of it.
How stinking awesome is that?
The thought that God loves us so incredibly much that He lets us play a part in someone else’s story just goes to show how much grace we receive on a daily basis.
And we so desperately need that grace.
We forget that when God works through us to change lives and witness about His glorious deeds, it isn’t because of us, it’s in spite of us.
God works in spite of our humanity, our short-comings, our shame, and fear of rejection. God still works… somehow.
There’s a fairly popular song that’s been around a few years by Newsboys called “God’s Not Dead(Like a Lion)” and they played it last week at camp.
I’m standing in the back of the worship center with four other leaders as we pray continuously over the students, the band, the speaker, the words, that maybe something, something, could be changed. That God would chose to do a work in spite of all the humanity taking place in that room.
Then the words to the first verse crashed over my heart like a tidal wave and shocked me to my core.
“Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To bring a revolution, somehow”
There were more screw ups for myself and others last week than can be or should be counted. And the fact of it is, we WILL fail. We are imperfect and broken and too far gone and God wraps us in His arms and says,
“Yes. You are. But through my love you’ve been made new. Let me make a masterpiece out of your mess.”
Somehow, through our mess, we all left camp able to see God more clearly than we had when we walked in. Somehow, amidst the mess that we humans created of a message and worship series, God chose to work and show how powerful and faithful He is to do a good work, simply because He can.
Right in the middle of the mess, God saw a masterpiece, something worthy of grace. It’s the same place He found you and me, right when it all seemed hopeless. And He would do a work, somehow.
In the chaos and letdowns of our own expectations, God moved in the hearts of students last week. We saw three known salvations, and somehow, lives were impacted and questions were answered.
Realizing that God sees all the mistakes we’ve made in the past, all the ones we’re doing right now that we don’t even realize, and all the mistakes we will make in the future, and yet still choses to use us, for His glory, is incredible.
He sees us as a masterpiece capable of spreading His word, and we have to trust that when we fail (which we always will) somehow God will work it for His good.
“For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared us ahead of time to do.”
He prepares us for each and every challenge, and we know by His word in Joshua 1:9 that He will never leave us in times of trouble. Even in the crazy of last week, when it felt like every roadblock was thrown our way, God knew we were capable because He had equipped us for the challenge. Every mistake and moment of uncertainty was already planned for because that’s what we mean when we speak of His sovereignty.
Through Him, I have faith in the somehow. Faith that with every mistake I made last week that God can work, because He is greater than me. It’s all about trusting Him move in the world around us, even when we freeze in fear, even when we feel less than.
The thing about the word somehow is that it’s a word drenched in doubt. It’s a word we use when we are hoping for the best, but anticipating the worst. Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t see it that way? That God sees our mess, and even though we give Him a “somehow” of hope and doubt, He reveals Himself in the mightiest way possible.
“Let me make a masterpiece out of your mess.”
I’m so incredibly thankful that somehow God saw more in me, my fellow leaders, and our camp last week than just a mess. He is faithful, even in the somehow.
HEBREWS 6:19 SAYS,
“We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul. A HOPE both sure, and steadfast.”