God Doesn’t Always Have To Make Sense

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8,9

Is God calling you to do something that doesn’t necessarily make sense?  Are you hesitant because it seems so irrational? Good news!  God doesn’t always have to make sense.  There are several incidences in the Bible that come to mind:  Gideon, Jonah, Naaman, Esther, and Jehoshaphat just to name a few.

When I was twenty-three years old, I was the receptionist at a large church in Chula Vista, CA.  The Christian Ed director could not find anyone to take the 8th grade boys’ Sunday School class where there was anywhere from 7-9 boys on any given Sunday.  Somehow Dean persuaded me to take that class.  The class was filled with high-energy boys and there were Sundays when not a lot of teaching took place.  It really didn’t make one bit of sense to put me in that classroom.  All the wisdom in the world said it wouldn’t work.

“But God”…that’s one of my favorite phrases in the Bible because that means God is usually about to do something remarkable.  But God knew exactly what He was doing when He put me together with those teenage boys.

One frustrating Sunday I realized I was totally ill-equipped to teach the boys and God had made the worse mistake of His (and my) life.  My teaching style at that time was mainly lecture where I talked on and on, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Even I was bored.  At the end of that class and without giving it much thought, I felt led to make an announcement.  I told the boys that the next Sunday we were going to have a debate.  I gave them a scenario and they had to pick which side of the debate they wanted to be on.  They could use data from any source they wanted but they also had to use scripture to support their side of the issue.  At the end of the debate I would declare one team a winner.

The scenario went like this:  An army officer has knowledge of highly sensitive intelligence information.  It is so sensitive that he has a suicide pill on him which he must take, if ever captured.  He is captured, takes the pill and dies.  He was a Christian.  Did he commit murder?  Did he go to heaven?

I was totally shocked at what came out of my mouth that Sunday morning but I was even more shocked when those boys showed up with their Bibles in hand the next week ready to debate.  I sat through the entire class with my mouth hanging open.  I began to panic because they were so well prepared on both sides of the issue and I didn’t know which side to declare the winner.  Desperately praying, I asked the Lord for wisdom.  And then it came to me in the split-second I needed to make a decision.  Both teams won.   Some of those boys, probably for the first time in their lives, willingly picked up a Bible.  I told them I wasn’t the Judge who could determine the right and wrong of what the army officer did, although a loving God would judge fairly.  But I did know both teams were winners because they eagerly dove into the word of God to find answers for themselves.

Those boys were changed that day but so was their teacher.  I realized they needed a variety of activities and challenges to keep them engaged.  There were still crazy Sundays because they were still full of crazy energy but we started having fun.  We also began hanging together outside of the classroom.  We swept the church’s massive parking lot.  We went out for pizza.  We went to a nursing home after church on Sunday a couple of times.  Once I was married, we had them over to our house for a Sunday afternoon cookout.  When I look back over the years, the time I spent with those crazy teenage boys are some of my fondest memories.

Is God calling you to do something that seems absolutely irrational to the logical mind?  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t count the cost but on the other hand, you might want to tear up that pro and con list you made and trust God…even when He doesn’t make sense.

Lord, What Were You Thinking?

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.”  Psalm 8:2(a)

In September, 2013, my church began a program for children called Friends and Heroes.  We thought it would be cool to reach out to the children in the neighborhood and also to an apartment complex a couple of miles from the church.  We were full of excitement and had a strong desire to serve the children and to share with them Jesus’ love.  That excitement lasted about 10 minutes into the program on the first night.  We found out rather quickly that having 85% of those attending from outside the church involved a whole different ballgame than the one we were used to playing.

These kids bounced off the walls.  When I say they bounced off the walls I mean they literally bounced off the walls.  The classrooms in the basement of the church have brick walls.  Some of the boys would actually climb the walls just like they were training for the Ninja Warriors series on TV.  Once they got to the top they would jump to the floor.  The children have come a long way since that first night but at times it’s still a struggle.  A lot of nights we measure the present by how they behaved in the past.  “Well, at least we’re able to teach them more than we did this time last year.”  On more than one occasion, I’ve asked the Lord, “What were You thinking?”

It’s not like we haven’t seen fruit because we have.  Many children have given their hearts to Jesus, as well as some of the parents.  One couple was headed for divorce.  They came for counseling with the pastor, God got a hold of their hearts and they now attend church on Sunday mornings.  Another family almost had their house repossessed and through prayer and the church’s food pantry, we were able to see them get on the other side of their financial difficulties.  One of the mothers died a couple of months ago and a teacher, Miss Rhonda , has reached out to her children in special ways.

And then two Wednesday night ago God beautifully showed us He is indeed in control, these are His children and He absolutely adores them.  We are raising money to buy six goats to give to three families in a third-world country and I’m responsible for taking the offering.  God impressed upon me to go a different direction that night.  Instead of giving my normal “offering speech,” He told me to show a video of Chris Tomlin singing his song, “Jesus Loves Me.”

As the song was playing, for the first time, many of the children felt the tangible presence of God.  Without giving an “altar call” some of the children came forward and knelt at the altar.  A couple of the girls were crying.  Some of the younger children were drawn to sit on the floor up on the stage.  Two of my grandchildren snuggled with me while worshipping Jesus.  It was touching to look out at the kids still in the pews.  Their eyes were closed, some were swaying to the music, a couple of them had their hands raised, some were bent over with their heads in their laps.  God’s presence was there and it was incredible watching the children respond to Him.  All too soon the music was over.

You know, I can’t say it was the kiddos who were changed that night.  Some of them are still wall climbers full of crazy energy but I now know they’re wall climbers who love Jesus.  I’m the one who is different.  I saw God and the children loving on each other.  I saw it in the expressions on their faces and in the way they responded to His presence.  He is for those children.  How could I not be too?

The teachers at O.C.C. are experienced saints who have been involved with children for years and know how to work with them.  However, these children are unique and not like any others we have ever dealt with before.  What was God thinking when He sent them our way?  He was thinking about how much He loves them, how much He is for them and that they are totally worth the effort.

You know, they really are worth all the craziness.

It Helps to be a Little Bit Crazy

I like hanging with kids, I really do.  I’ve been doing it since 1970 when I first gave my heart to Jesus.  Almost immediately God called me to hang with the kids.  When I was first saved, I had the exciting privilege of hanging with them as a child evangelist when I traveled with an evangelistic team.  I’ve hung out with them in Sunday School classes, Children’s Church, as a teacher for several years at a  home school  co-op, various Wednesday night programs, Sidewalk Sunday and other outreach programs, as a mother and now a grandmother.  God has been good to me by allowing these wonderful kiddos to be a part of my life.  They have blessed me, challenged me, unconditionally loved me, infuriated me, exhausted me, encouraged me, made me smile, laugh and cry.  One thing is for sure, it really does help to be a little bit crazy.  It makes things more interesting and fun for the children as well as for me, and the craziness probably has helped keep me sane (sometimes).

I’m not exactly sure which way this blog is headed.  I do know it will have a lot to do with children.  Perhaps along the way, I can encourage you as a parent, grandparent, teacher or simply as one who loves children.    I enjoy writing children’s stories so maybe I’ll go in that direction as well and share some of my ideas and creative writings.

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat.  I don’t have it altogether when it comes to being a parent, grandparent, or teacher.  I’ve made my fair share of mistakes (and then some) so don’t expect me to do this perfectly.  You’re more likely to learn from my mistakes than from my successes.  Hopefully, though, the journey will be a little bit crazy and a whole lot of fun.