“I have a story. A story of how God didn't answer my prayer. I prayed for my friend to get better and he didn't. He died.” - 9 year old boy.
Before I could even respond someone else piped in. “Oh I have one like that too. My little sister died when she was a baby. And my parents were praying for her too.”
My mind raced. How do I respond to that? How do I respond to these statements from 10 year olds?!
It was Vacation Bible School and I was a 'crew leader'. A crew leader of a group of very bright and very 'Bible knowledgeable' kids around the age of 9 year olds. One was the Pastor's kid, one was the kid of the leader of the VBS program. These kids knew the Bible. They knew all the stories. They had memory verses memorized, Bible songs down pat, and they knew the exact words to say when praying aloud. They are raised in good Christian homes. Very good homes. And of course, they have the hardest questions.
These statements came in response to a question that we were to answer as a group. The question? “How have you seen God answer your prayers?” Instead of finding ways where God has been working, my kids decided to show me ways in which they felt God was not working.
Part of me wanted to say 'Go talk to your Dad' to the Pastor's kid. Part of me wanted to say 'That wasn't the question'. Part of me wanted to look for a different leader and ask them to take over.
Because me? I can't explain this to these kids. I am not equipped. I am insufficient to talk about this. I don't know my Bible as well as other leaders, as well as their parents, as well as people who are way more knowledgeable than me. I will probably say the wrong thing and what if I lead them away from Christ? It is probably best I say nothing.
I can't ACTUALLY explain about God's love and share the gospel. Can I? Oh wait. That is my purpose. That is the great commission. That is what I am called to do. (Matt.28:18-20)
Time was ticking and the teacher was moving on to the next part of the activity. I told the kids we would talk about this later and made a mental note to get back to this. And then I prayed. “God, please give me the words.”
After a few more activities, when there was some quiet time again and we were supposed to talk about a new set of questions, I took a deep breath and I brought it up. In Christ's strength and the Holy Spirit's boldness I shared about how God is good...all the time. God is so good. He is always good. These are truths we can believe. Bad things happen. I don't know why. But God DOES hear us. And He DOES love us. I can promise you this. I have no answers to why those people had to die, but I do know one thing. I know that God is good. I know that He is love. And I know His Word is truth. And I will hold on to those truths forever. (Check out this post on Her View From Home -- And If Not, Is He Still Good? for more on this!)
Really? All I did was share my heart. I shared what I know in my heart. That is all I needed to do. And I did it with God's strength and with His power. None of it was about my abilities or myself. After all, it is always about Christ and what He has done.
That is all that sharing the gospel is about. That is what God calls us to do. Simply, share our heart.
Not just the Pastor can do that.