last week i was reading in the psalms and i came on this passage:
Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD”–
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.Psalm 32.2-5
i know this is a passage where king david is writing about the confession and forgiveness of sin, but i couldn’t help going down a side road in my spirit that morning. have you ever had the “hand of the lord” lay heavy on you? years ago i did…and my life course was changed forever!
i was going to college, dating my wife-to-be, living at home, working a part-time job, and basically enjoying my life. i believed in god. i attended church and was even somewhat active in the youth-young adult group of my small home church.
one sunday, the young couple that led our group didn’t show up for our weekly sunday school class, so we all just sat around and told jokes and waited for the hour to go by so we could go to big church.
the next week the same thing happened. and then a third week. we all tried to call our leaders, but they didn’t answer their phone. they had just quit. since i had grown up in this church and i was one of the older guys, i was sort of appointed to go and talk to our minister, clue him in on the problem (although, none of us really missed our sunday bible lesson…we all thought it was kind of cool that we could hang out in our youth room doing nothing and nobody even knew about it!), and get him to fix it.
this is where the heavy hand of god comes in.
when i told him we didn’t have a sunday school teacher anymore, he just looked at me and said, “sure we do.” i remember repeating myself and inferring that he didn’t quite understand, but he kept staring at me and said, “i think you guys have a teacher.” then in my naiveness, i asked, “who? who do we have that is going to come in and teach us and lead this group?”
enter the heavy hand of god. my minister replied, “you. you need to do it. you’re a good young man. you’ve grown up in the church. the group likes and respects you. you do it.” i remember muttering out some response like, “you don’t understand. i’m not that kind of guy. i’ve never led a bible study. i’m just an average guy. i’m not spiritual like the rest of them. there’s no way i can do this! i can’t.”
this man patiently waited for my excuses to run out and then simply said, “i think god has you here for a reason. i think it’s time for you to step up and live by faith. we have a great need and you are the guy to fill it.”
he left no room for me to say “no”. there was no more debate. he wasn’t going to hear that i was too busy or too spiritually shallow or too immature or too…anything. he just told me to do it and god would take care of me.
from that day on, i taught that group every sunday and every wednesday night for three years. my life has never been the same. yeah, the hand of the lord was pretty heavy on me that day.
i’m grateful there was a bold, faithful, godly man in my life who would speak the truth and not let me off the hook.
this raises a lot of questions for me. how about for you? i think i’m going to write some more about this tomorrow. stay tuned.