3 years ago I woke up on a Sunday morning with anticipation in my heart for a week at camp as the camp speaker. I laid in bed for just a minute to think of all I had to get done before I was on my way and then I got out of bed, or attempted to get out of bed. Somewhere in the normal every day getting out of bed process my back gave out. With a weird pull and a muscle contracting all normal movement ceased. I managed to hobble to the bathroom and when I bent over to try to turn the shower on the tears started as I realized I couldn’t bend to reach the faucet.
The story goes on to involve a whole church praying, a dear doctor friend paying a house call, 6 shots, 2 major prescriptions, and a lot of stubborn perseverance. At the end of the day with my 16 year old assistant by my side I was at camp. I wasn’t standing upright but I was there. I knew I was supposed to be there and so there I was. Despite opinions to the contrary it never occurred to me not to be there.
They story would be so great if I had stood on that stage that night and been healed while telling kids about Jesus. Amazing story, right? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, the back spasmed and I tried to decide if I could speak while laying flat on the floor. I was quite sure I could but after a couple deep breathes I was able to keep going. The whole week was like that. A lot of deep breaths and a lot of keep goings. and in it there was beauty.
I alternated between the recliner and limping. People brought me food and ice. Staff came and talked with me. Kids waved at me from afar with strict instructions not to touch and I kept going. In the middle of one afternoon when I was feeling quite sorry for myself someone left this note on my door. Little did they know what beauty there would be in this simple anonymous note.
Tears ran down my face as I read through that scripture. Over and over again I read through it and over and over again I found my resolve strengthening, I found my heart healing, I found hope. I kept going and while the pain was still there (it would take months to fully recover) my purpose was redefined from me to Him.
Those verses have been my defining verses for the last 3 years. I have preached more sermons from 2 Corinthians than I can count. I have passed on these verses to people on almost a weekly basis. I turn to them repeatedly. I turned to them yesterday as the cold I picked up at camp in Alabama this week had me in bed for the day. I opened my Bible and there was that 3 year old note speaking to me yet again.
I still have no idea who left me the note but I know it was from one of the young staff members. Their boldness and obedience still blesses me. I’m sure they felt inadequate and maybe a little silly giving scripture to the speaker, and yet they did. I’m sure they wondered if it would mean anything and yet they gave without expecting to know. I’m sure they doubted the timeliness and didn’t want offend with such a simply “Christian” note, and yet they gave it just in time. I’m sure they had no idea that their obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit would significantly impact my life.
And I wonder…
How often I have been too scared, felt too silly, been too busy, believed I was too inadequate, doubted, ignored, run away, etc and missed the moments the Holy Spirit has desired to use me to bless someone. I have no doubt there have been many.
I look at this timeworn tiny note and resolve to be bolder and more obedient. I don’t want to miss moments like this, for me or for someone else.
Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. Proverbs 25:11