“What is it like to hear a word from God?”
It is safe to say that many of those who attend worship are hoping to hear something–perhaps an insight, a reminder or a word of hope from God.
Several years ago I was at a Pastor’s Prayer Conference with several of my colleagues at our annual meeting which that year was held in Wichita, Kansas. I had decided to attend my friend Don’s 8:15 Sunday morning service hoping to hear some clear instruction from God.
Don is a gifted preacher and I love to hear other preachers, especially someone like Don that I respect for his scholarship and great delivery.
Don’s church had an unusual collection of hallways and rooms adjoining the pastor’s study. Church building committees are famous for construction decisions. At some point in the past it seemed wise to a few people to construct a private washroom for the pastor-one that would have indoor and outdoor access. It quickly became apparent that the outdoor entrance posed a security risk. Outsiders could potentially enter the bathroom from the exterior door. Therefore, that entrance was locked from inside and outside.
To bolster security, the interior bathroom door was also secured from inside and outside. That made it possible for the pastor to be accidentally locked inside. That is exactly what happened to Don before the early service.
Should he hope someone would realize his dilemma? Would someone come to rescue him? Should he go ahead and open the exterior door and set off the loud alarm?
Don, wearing his pastoral robe, had already received his lavalier mic from the worship team. He toggled the power switch and called to Martin his Director of Operations. He remembers that he actually whispered: “Martin I’m locked in my bathroom.”–a message instantaneously broadcast throughout the sanctuary.
God’s people, waiting to hear a word that might change their lives heard instead a plea to be released from a washroom incarceration.
Needless to say, Don and Martin received a standing ovation when they entered the sanctuary a few minutes later.
A funny thing happens when we open our hearts to receive some word from God. Very often what we hear doesn’t sound particularly spiritual.
Like: There’s a single parent who can’t pay her utility bill this month having lost her job because of the pandemic. Could you send a donation to Christian Ministries of Delaware County to help? Or many of our Muncie neighbors are trying to feed their families-maybe a gift to Soup Kitchen of Muncie could make all the difference.
There is a Resident here at Westminster Village that has seemed withdrawn-could you with your mask on make a point of saying hello or calling her on the phone to talk.
It turns out that a few things are more Godly than showing God’s love in a practical way. The Holy Spirit knows how to connect the dots between our deepest yearnings and the world’s most practical needs.
And every time we say yes to such promptings? You’ll be surprised how often you end up unlocking a door to hear The Lord.
Ron Naylor, Chaplain