I had an interesting event happen this weekend which was a genuine experience with God and, I hope, will be life long and life-changing.
Saturday morning I was having a lovely walk under the beautiful sunny skies in the beautiful piney woods of Louisiana, endeavoring to have a prepared heart to preach within the next 2 hours; I really had the desire to be alone, with no one around except the Lord; it was enjoyable and I was really just relishing the time alone, while praying as I walked, that the Lord would control all things within me that morning, in order that His Word would be unhindered.
As I kept walking and praying, suddenly someone ran up behind me to surprise me; it was a young person at the camp, probably 8-9 years old; they came innocently, and said, “What ya doing?”, to which I replied, “O, just taking a walk.”
Immediately, they thought this was a fun idea, and so, without my invitation or approval, just starting walking with me and talking to me. They wanted to come along too, and proceeded to chatter away about anything and everything that came to their mind. Rats! Why did they have to see me walking? I even had that old line cross my memory that, I believe, W. C. Fields used in one of his movies (you old people correct me on this if I am wrong) “Go away, kid– you bother me!”
I didn’t think it that way exactly, but I know I was feeling it; I felt irratated that my time was being interrupted by this little person who could be playing, being with their friends, or be anywhere else– anywhere except with me.
After all, couldn’t they see I wanted to be alone? Didn’t they realize I was getting ready to preach to the entire conference? How clueless could they be concerning my private time; how dare they enter my own private holy of holies! What an interruption.
I almost said, “Well, you better get back to the building.” But somehow I couldn’t say it; the words stuck in my throat, as the thought came to me that they might be confused, puzzled, or even somehow feel rejected if I sent them away; after all, this young one was going to be listening to me in just a few minutes. So I kept my mouth shut (a good thing for a preacher to do at times). Actually, I know that God shut my mouth and kept me quiet.
But I still felt distracted and mildly irritated, though I noticed that the feeling of irritation was become milder the longer the child walked along, chattering away.
I had just been asking the Lord, only moments before, to control all things within me and about me. Suddenly, that seemed to happen all at once. I suddenly felt the presence of the Lord and He seem to say to my heart clearly, “Why are you bothered by this little one? They are not bothering Me; they are one of my little ones; I had them walk this way and sent them here to make you a blessing to them and also to bless you through them; so don’t despise my little ones; I am walking with them– why can’t you?”
I did not hear a voice or see any letters written in the blue morning sky. But I immediately felt completely different– the feeling was one of genuine freedom; I suddenly wasn’t bothered but instead felt at peace, undistracted and undisturbed; The reality that God was literally controling the event invaded my thoughts and affections, and instantly I was at peace, enjoying communion with Him, as if I were alone, even though I wasn’t.
I kept walking, praying silently while the divinely-sent tag-a-long kept walking too, until they said, “I’ll race you back to the building!”, to which I wisely said, “No, better not- you go ahead; I’m gonna finish my walk.”
They took off and I stood still; God had done something for me which was as big as empowering a sermon– He stopped me in my tracks and prevented me from despising (being irritated by) one of His little ones and made me actually feel in my heart and mind the attitude He had toward them. It was almost like Jesus suddenly erased my thoughts and feelings about the little friend and replaced it with His own mind toward them.
I was freshly reminded again that God is not in the big stuff all the time that we think He’s in– He’s in the situations where kids interrupt us, distract us, and hinder our own plans– He’s there and He is not silent. He’s in the times when those we dread being around are suddenly heading our way, in order for us to relate to them like Jesus would and does. I learned Saturday morning a lesson that I hope by His grace I can walk in– “Do not despise my little ones; I’ve shown you how I feel toward them.”
– Mack T.