Wednesday, July 25, 2012

part of His story

Brian and I wanted to go on a vacation this summer. 

A few months ago, we requested a week off in July, hoping that we would find last minute deals a week before. A Saturday night service would change that. We found ourselves seated at church staring at the big screen. It read, "VBS: God in Action," and right below were the dates: July 16-20. Same week as our vacation. Coincidence? No, just part of God's story. 

So we obeyed. 

Anxious. Excited. Nervous. Worried. All these emotions were taking over as I was counting the weeks and days before. On one hand, I was so excited to be able to serve in the community again. It's been almost two years (too long) since I've been involved. Brian and I always talked about wanting to go somewhere and serve, and God opened up this opportunity for us. But on the other hand, I had my list of worries/insecurities:

What if a kid asks me a question that I won't be able to answer?
Will I make a connection with the kids?
What happens if one of my guitar strings broke during worship time?
Is it going to be awkward...with everyone?

But the biggest issue was making this week about God instead of my own personal gain. I get so caught up about how helping others or serving in a community event is going to make me look/feel. Sad to say, it's my immediate reaction/thought after signing up for something. I know I'm a horrible person, but I know I'm not the only one that thinks this way or struggles with it. It's something that I battle with from time to time. I know that my life is wholly devoted to serving God and giving Him all the glory, but there is a part of me that wants that glory, too. It's what happens when you live in a society where individualism is the desired goal, which makes living out the Gospel a whole lot harder. But this past week helped me refocus on who God is and what my role is in His plan. 

One of the moments that stuck out to me happened on Thursday. It was during storytelling time; the topic: the salvation story. As the story was being told, some of the volunteers acted out Jesus being nailed to the cross. And out of nowhere, this young little girl next to me started balling her eyes out. It took me a second to realize that I should probably take her away from the group and console her right away. As I sat with her, rubbing the tears from her eyes as she cried more and more, I assumed she was scared from watching the skit. 

"Are you okay sweetie? Did you get scared from watching the skit?" I asked.
"No," she replied. After a few seconds, she finally calmed down a bit. The next few words she spoke I will never forget.
"Why did Jesus have to die?"

Taken back, I didn't know how to respond. I was expecting her to say that she was scared from the skit and that I would just take her back when the skit was over. But her tears weren't from that...they were of sadness. As I proceeded to tell her why He died for us, I kept thinking to myself, "Why did He have to die?" 

The salvation story is a story that has been taught to me since I was 5 years old, and yet, now 24, I, too, struggle with that question. God could have left us, His Creation, to rot, to ultimately live a life filled with endless hope and destruction until we destroyed ourselves or each other. He could have left our world, started a new world from scratch, and created new beings. But He didn't. Instead, He chose to stay. Instead, He brought into our hectic world His one and only son, who, for the remaining three or so years left on earth, walked alongside us--the broken, the abandoned, the poor--loving us unconditionally and teaching us how to live in the Kingdom of God. Instead, He made the ultimate sacrifice and had His son nailed on the cross. Why? "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He did it for us; He did it for me; He did it so that this little girl next to me would know the true love of God. 

As I finished telling her why, she looked up and asked, "Jesus comes back?" And when I confirmed the question, the sweetest smile emerged and we found ourselves walking back to hear the rest of the story. Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed. 

The week was filled with all sorts of festivities. The pictures explain them best :)

Psalm 90:2
A couple of my favorite stories...can you guess?
We like to dress up.
Superhero day!
The one in the sweet Superwoman costume
is the girl who was excited to hear about Jesus' return :)
All the kids received a comic book of the Bible!
Our small group aka the cool kids.
Amazing TeWinkle Team that pulled the week off.

Even though we didn't go a vacation this summer, God really moved us that week. We're excited to see where He will take us next :)