God has a great sense of humor, even if I don’t always agree. For the past several months I have developed a few friendships with the kids in the 3rd-5th grade room. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites but Varnelle is definitely one of mine. We always shoot around at the basketball hoops and I ask him about his week and he will usually launch into some of the favorite things he got to do. This week he received a new Lego play set and he was super stoked. After we played for a while the music started and it was time for programming. If you have never been to Flatiron’s Kid Ministry, it can be chaos.
During service a bunch of kids by the basketball hoops were talking and cutting up so I went sat over by them. I handed Levi a can of thinking putty to open and play with as it calmed his mind and aided in his focus to what was going on the stage. There is something about using our hands to shape things that allows us to hone in more. Varnelle came and sat by me and showed me a gigantic foam popcorn box that mirrored the thinking putty. We passed it back and forth for a bit while listening to the lesson. He leaned over and whispered, “Remember that time you gave me a can of thinking putty? It was blue and changed colors to red and I play with it all the time.” We sat through the teaching of Jesus healing a blind man with mud and spit, and the boys around me cringed and giggled and wondered at the story.
Afterwards, I led a small group of thirteen kids in an activity where someone was blindfolded and had to have someone else lead them by their voice to find a bean bag someone placed within the circle. Kids ran and played and giggled as they took turns being blind and fumbling around the ground. I wrapped up the game and we sat back down in the circle as we discussed the activity and what we learned in the lesson.
I asked if anyone had any prayer requests and told them if they didn’t want to share out loud that they could write it on a card and hand it in so that I could be praying for them and their request throughout the week. Varnelle came up to me and handed in his request as I high fives him and told him thank you for trusting me with his prayers.
He ran off to play and as I unfolded the paper the wind was knocked out of me, not because there was something insane written down, rather the simplicity and beauty of what he had written. “Thank you Lord for being here.”
I swear that this little notecard was a hand delivered message from God Himself.
This week for some reason has been hard. My body has seemed to forget that it should be healthy and paired with that, I’ve found myself in some sort of weird existential funk and everything feels heavy. There are times in my life that for whatever reason seems like a drought in the desert, no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to find nourishment. I feel like a blind man on the side of the road with no hope of healing.
I absolutely love what I do in kid’s ministry. I love all of the games and stories laughter that weave throughout the weekend. I love getting to build relationships with our kids and the leaders that serve alongside me. It’s also a place where I constantly bump into Jesus unexpectedly, just like the blind man in our story tonight.
Mark 8:22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to (Jesus) a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus[c] laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
It has always amazed me that Jesus used his own spit and dirt from the earth to use in healing the blind man’s sight. There is something very raw about this that almost feels unnecessary. All Jesus had to do was touch the man, or even say He was healed for it to be so. So why lead him out of the village and use spit and dirt? I’ll be honest, I have no idea why this event happened the way it did.
I do know that Jesus is in the business of leading us somewhere. That somewhere leads to healing. I’d like to think that Jesus used this as an example to show us sometimes we have to trust him to where He is leading us and at times we are going to get dirty and it’s not going to look exactly how we thought it would.
In the moments when I feel like I can’t see, in the time when things are heavy, He is here. And I am so thankful for the times he uses things in the world around me to show me that He hasn’t left me. Tonight that came in the form of a note. I’m glad that Varnelle loves hanging out in kid’s ministry. I’m also glad that I have to spend my week thanking the Lord that He is here.
And for now that is enough.