Rite of passage parenting: Humbled
I’m not sure just why I want to share this. It comes from my personal journal. You don’t write a journal for the masses but to help you sort out and reflect on your feelings. I wrote this entry last December when I was teaching in the city of Piura, Peru.
As I wrote, I was sitting in my hotel room, the air-conditioner revving like the engine of a 747 jet (December is summertime in Peru). I had the television on, but all the channels except one made the programs look like they were filmed in a snowstorm. That one was a Spanish nature channel, and the program featured an animal stalking his dinner. Some things don’t require translation.
Even with the air conditioner, the television and the street noises blaring below, my Lord took me to a place for just the two of us. All distractions disappeared, and He brought spiritual thoughts into focus.
I was preparing to preach at a convention center where people from all over Peru would gather. The journey that brought me there overwhelmed me: not the journey from Tulsa to Piura, but the journey of my life. How could a young boy from Missouri end up speaking before a convention center in northern Peru? Next to the virgin birth, the resurrection of Lazarus and the parting of the Red Sea, the story of how God used a little boy from Missouri might not rank near the top. But don’t we all have a God-sized story? Here are my thoughts from that day:
Today’s word is “humbled.” In a couple of hours, I will preach in the Convention Center of Piura. Throughout the night, groups of people have been riding on dilapidated buses, eagerly waiting to arrive. Their trips have not been easy. The buses bob and weave their way along mountain roads only wide enough for one car. If you’re scared of heights, you don’t dare look out the window. The clear drop-off that makes up the edge of the road can keep you praying all night.
Most of these people come from small churches perched on the sides of mountains. Most of our bathrooms back home are bigger than these churches. Some of the bus riders came in last night for the youth rally, bringing their youth groups of one or two. But the raw joy that poured forth as they worshiped in abandon left me humbled. For an hour and a half, they joined the largest group of believers they had ever seen, singing, dancing and weeping with joy.
The Jesus they love doesn’t weigh them down, but gives them freedom. And the church problems they talk about have nothing to do with warfare within the body, but with the best way to evangelize the next village over. Again, I am humbled.
Many of these precious people have been touched by the ministry of Awe Star, but I’m just a blip on the radar. Those who spend their lives investing day in and day out are the real heroes; people like the Bowies, the Fletchers, Lisa Taylor, the Weavers—the list goes on and on. These people were here long before I arrived, and will remain when I land back home in Tulsa tomorrow … humbled.
I know what will happen this morning. The people will be so grateful I came all this way to share the Word of God with them. But they are the ones who have come the farthest: from a mixed-up worship tradition to new life in Christ. I will leave today, humbled, because I will have seen the church the way God intended. “Above all, love…”
(1 Peter 4:8).
Again, I don’t know why the Lord has laid this on my heart. Maybe you’re struggling today with your significance. You don’t think you matter much. May I share something? If you have Jesus, you have significance. You may not be called to the same places I am, but you are called to do the same thing. Read what Jesus says:
“You are the salt of the Earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matt. 5:13-16).
Take some time to reflect on what great things God has done in your life. You’ll be amazed. And … humbled.