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the unexpected way


One of my friends was asked to speak at a local youth group meeting and she asked if I would be willing to accompany her to play for worship as well as tell a story about letting God guide me. I said, "Sure," and then she also mentioned that she would like to get a list of all the people in the youth group so that we could pray for them ahead of time and get some insight or words from God for them. It sounded like a great idea, so I again said, "Sure."
The meeting was scheduled for Friday night and as Friday afternoon wore on, that same old fear started to rise (my friend was actually speaking about fears that night, so it was apropros) that I would have no idea what to do and be of no help to anyone.
I had not spent any time praying for the youth until that afternoon and actually dreaded looking at the list of names. Finally, I overcame my procrastination and laid the list on the table in front of me. I stared at the words and wondered what I had been thinking in supposing that I would receive wonderful and special things for them straight from the throne of God. There were just letters that meant nothing to me and conjured up no images or thoughts. Just as I had feared, I was useless and had nothing to offer. As I placed my hands on the paper with names and dejectedly said, "God, I have nothing, I don't know what to give these kids, but you know them all by name and you think they are special and you..." And that was as far as I got before I began to weep with God's incredible love for these ones that I had never met. I kept running my fingers over the names and muttering, "God, you know, you know them." This feeling of being worthless and incapable of accomplishing the task at hand has so often become the time that God chooses to make an entrance and grab these weaknesses of mine by their droopy edges and turn them inside out into examples of his incredible capability.
Later that night at the youth meeting, I told the story of letting God guide me to lunch with Robert in San Francisco (see January 30, 2007 post) and then proceeded to tell them that I had prayed for them that afternoon and wished I could have come with a gift for everyone that would let them know how much God loves them and would infuse life into their souls and be the very thing they needed to hear, but instead, God gave me compassion. As I let the tears flow that usually accompany my heart when especially moved, I went to every person in the room, gave them a hug and told them that they were special and I liked them. Everyone freely opened their arms to me, looked me in the eye, and accepted my humble offering. All I had wanted was for these kids to encounter God in a way that was real for them, and instead of profound words, he asked me to use my arms and my heart.
Let me never be afraid to lay my weakness before Him, for often it is all I have to offer, and it is the very thing he desires.
(The painted sidewalk in Berkeley, California. January, 2007)

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