VBS for Grown-Ups: Even When You’re Afraid

Vacation Bible School.  That’s just for kids, right?  Silly songs.  Silly skits.  Silly costumes.  Kids stuff.  Sure.

But is there any message in Scripture that God delivers just for people 12 and under? We older and ‘wiser’ ones sometimes make faith so complicated when the simple beauty of truth is what we really need.

This week, I’ll be singing songs and doing those silly skits from Group Publishing’s Weird Animals VBS at my own church.

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing with you those same stories, the same lessons, the same truth, but for grown-ups.

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I wish I had my four-year-old’s bravery.

She’s this tiny powerhouse of courage, stepping onto roller coasters and water rides that drop you straight down and splash you in the face as you land.

She handles shots, injuries, and dental repairs without tears or drama.

But me?

I’m tossing and turning at night, not thrilled at the thought of food, outright terrified, edgy and far too prone to cry, and I’m wondering how I can bottle up this tiny daughter’s courage to fill up my own wimpy soul.matthew14, photo by Decha Thapanya;

Funny how trying to obey God, trying to step out and do what He’s called you to do can be exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

Sure is like a roller coaster, I guess.

But you know what?  I hate roller coasters.

Maybe that’s what makes this so difficult.

In one month almost exactly, I’ll be swimming in a huge ocean of other writers at my first ever writer’s conference.

It may be a month away, but the battle is here and now.

What if everyone is better than me?

What if every woman there looks more polished and more confident and has all the style and pizzazz that captures attention and I’m the easily overlooked tag-a-long that no one remembers?

What if I stumble over my words? 

What if everyone hates what I write or hates my ideas?

What if I’m just not good enough?

What if I make all the sacrifices to be there and walk out with nothing more than capital F Failure and capital R Rejection?

God calls us to daily obedience.  That’s hard enough some days.

Then sometimes He calls us to all-in, risk-everything, put-yourself-out-there, this-is-crazy kind of vulnerability and trust.

It takes courage.  That doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid.  Courage means you obey Him even when you’re terrified because you trust Him with the results.

The disciples had that courage.  They walked right away from their fishing nets and steady paychecks.

The prophets spoke up for right against all that was wrong despite raging kings and queens and the bounties on their head.

Esther stepped into a throne room not knowing if the king would kill her or lower that scepter and hear what she had to say.

Paul strode into city after city and taught in the synagogue every time, knowing he faced the possibility each time of stoning, imprisonment, beatings, death.

And here I am, doing what I’m supposed to do to get ready:

Write the proposal. Come up with a tagline. Pack a briefcase.  Print business cards.  Connect with other authors. Build a platform.  Choose a snazzy outfit.  Get your hair cut and colored or at least maybe some highlights (maybe that terrifies me more than anything).

Most importantly: Pray.  Pray some more.  Pray every single day.

Here’s what I need:  Holy Spirit courage to do what He’s called me to do and leave the rest up to Him.

Like it says:

But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid,” he said. Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27 NLT).

Take courage because He’s here, right here with you, present with you, not abandoning you, not sending you out all by your lonesome self.

Ananias needed courage like that, too.  The Lord called Him to seek out a man from Tarsus named Saul.

Not any Saul from Tarsus either:  THE Saul from Tarsus, the notorious Christian-persecutor and murderer.

He had to choose.

Risk it all, even death, and obey?  He knew the cost.  Ananias recited the risks for God, as if God clearly didn’t know the details before sending down the divine orders.

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” (Acts 9:13-14 NIV).

“But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go….” (Acts 9:15 NIV).

Maybe God has called you out, asked you to do something that takes true courage and your heart just trembles at the thought of the call.

Yet, He says, “Go….”

Take courage, dear one.  He is with you.  Even when you’re afraid, Jesus loves you.

He knows the risks.  He knows what makes your heart quake.  He knows the results.

And He promises to be with you.

May I ask this of you?  Would you pray with me and for me this month as I prepare to go to She Speaks in July?  I am so blessed by your prayers for me!

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

 

VBS for Grown-Ups: Even When You’re Left Out….

Vacation Bible School.  That’s just for kids, right?  Silly songs.  Silly skits.  Silly costumes.  Kids stuff.  Sure.

But is there any message in Scripture that God delivers just for people 12 and under? We older and ‘wiser’ ones sometimes make faith so complicated when the simple beauty of truth is what we really need.

This week, I’ll be singing songs and doing those silly skits from Group Publishing’s Weird Animals VBS at my own church.

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing with you those same stories, the same lessons, the same truth, but for grown-ups.

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 Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
  who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
  he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people (Psalm 113:5-8).

“Mom, can you tie my shoe?”

I kneel down, slightly off balance, and whip the laces into loops and knots.

“Mom, can you wash my hair?”

Bending over a daughter with her eyes pinched tightly shut, I scrub with shampoo and rinse away suds.

“Mom, can you show me how to play this on the piano?”

I stoop to press the keys, one hand pointing to the music, the other playing notes.

“Mom, can you hold my hand?”

Tilted to one side, I lean over to entwine our fingers and we swing our arms together.

“Mom, I’m hurt!”

Dropping to the ground, I clean the wound and press on the miraculously comforting Princess Band-Aid.

Life with children is a life bent low.  It’s the ministry of kneeling down, stooping over, leaning, and bending to wipe, scrub, heal, hold, read, listen–to love.  So often, it’s the movement down to hug a child and lift her up.

God bends low to reach His children, too.

He could have sat, poised on His righteous throne, holy and unresponsive to our need.

But He didn’t. Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Sacrifice, is the great Love of God bending low so He could raise us up.

And He continued that ministry.  Finding Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever, Jesus “bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her” (Luke 4:39).

Petitioned by a leper for healing, Jesus “reached out his hand and touched the man” (Luke 5:13).

Confronted by an angry mob gathering stones to throw at the adulterous woman, Jesus “stooped down and wrote on the ground” (John 8:8).

He could have stood at a distance.  He had the power to heal with words alone, and sometimes He did.

These ten lepers, society’s outcasts, living away for so long from family, friends, faith, they didn’t even know they could come to Jesus.  They knew the rules.  Stay away from others.  So, “they stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'” (Luke 17:12 NIV).

And He healed them with a word, just simple instructions.

But other times He chose to make it physical, and it so often required Him to bend low, to stoop, to reach out.matthew28-20

Jesus didn’t mind the mess.  He touched the “unclean,” when it was against the rules for them to have contact with other humans for fear they’d stain the holiness of others.

Jesus got down in the dirt with people.  And not just the high and mighty, the lofty, the righteous, the elite.

With the shunned, ignored, rejected.  With the outcasts.  With the unclean and the sin-stained.

With them.

With us.

Even now, He promises, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

If you feel left out…rejected…outside….outcast…shunned….dirty….not good enough, never good enough, never gonna be good enough…..

Drink in this truth:

Even when you’re left out, Jesus loves you.

God is not waiting for us to get cleaned up, to overcome, to fix it all up, to force holiness either.   He isn’t put off by our faces smudged with dirt, our hands caked with mud, our fingernails lined with soil from trying to claw our way out of the pit we’re in.

Instead, David tells us:

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2).

You cannot be so deep in the darkness to be beyond His reach. You cannot be so covered in dirt that He’s scared away or disgusted.

God puts on His muddy boots, wades in and rescues us so that we can be with Him.

As Lysa TerKeurst writes:

We may be overlooked by others, but we are handpicked by God.

 

Originally posted May 11, 2012

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King