I must confess to not really looking forward to going away on church camp this year. My relationship with God has been plodding along reasonably lethargically for a while now and the thought of having my luke warmness exposed for all the ‘proper’ Christians to see didn’t fill me with eager anticipation. Of course, in hindsight, all the more reason to spend time with my church family, away from the norm and with time to focus on what is important rather than sitting at home binge watching another Netflix crime drama.
I should have known that God had plans as the few days leading up to the weekend were predictably awful, lots of shouting, grumpiness and general family angst. Isn’t it always the way? The storm before the still small voice. We arrived overheated and over tired on Friday evening, distributed the children and their stuff to their respective sleeping locations, and then were finally able to begin to relax, to sit down with friends and eat.
There is always something special about worship when we go away together. God will show up whenever we gather together, but there is an additional sense of anticipation that we are here to meet with God, not just because it’s a specific time on a Sunday. Whatever life has thown at me, or I have put myself in the way of, spending time on worship always helps me to put things in perspective and focus my mind on what our existence is founded on, the worship of our creator.
Whereas worship is easy ( I just need to make time to do it more ) the hard part came on Saturday evening when Pete had finished preaching ( I can’t really tell you what he preached on but I know God was speaking directly to me) and he asked for those God was speaking to to come forward. This is when the battle starts in my head:
‘You know you have to go forward for prayer Aidan’
‘But do I? Really?? God can meet me HERE can’t he?
‘Well yes, but he has asked you to make a public statement and walk to the front’
‘But that means everyone will be looking and me and wondering why’
‘Does that matter?’
‘I know it shouldn’t, but I feel vulnerable, I don’t want to feel vulnerable and exposed.’
‘People might laugh at me’
‘Are you laughing at the others who have gone forward?’
‘No buts…..just do it’
So I did. And God spoke…to me. It wasn’t the ‘you’ve been a rubbish Christian Aidan’ which I had been prepared for, but rather a grace filled promise he’s not finished with me yet. Just what I needed to hear. Not a bolt of lightning or a mighty wind, just the still small voice of God reassuring me that his calling remained on my life and that, despite my feeling an ever-increasing sense of decrepitude, there are good things both behind me and before me.
I haven’t come away a new man, I am still me. I just need to continue to work on being the me God can use most effectively.
By Aidan Watson