Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Is and What Will Be

Last week I was at the high school, doing what Young Life calls ‘contact work,’ which basically means meeting kids and trying to build relationships so that you can tell them about Jesus. Well, when I’m doing contact work, I have my eyes peeled for high schoolers… the ones I know and the ones I don’t. I’m almost constantly praying and I almost never even notice adults who happen to be around. Last week though, as I started down this ridiculously long hallway that leads from the basketball arena to the main lobby, I noticed an older lady all the way at the other end and instantly had the thought, “Oh, there’s Mrs. Skeen.” I immediately dismissed this rash thought due to the fact that this lady (whoever she was) was about seventy yards away and I hadn’t seen Mrs. Skeen since the fifth grade. Not only that, but why would she be at the high school? She taught at Linden Elementary!

Well, as I continued to walk down the hallway and we continued to get closer and closer together, I realized that I had been right! It was Mrs. Skeen!! My elementary school art teacher was coming toward me with every step, only her hair was completely white now instead of dark as it had been. She glanced at me without recognition and I called out to her… “Mrs. Skeen?” She looked up and that great big smile flooded her face as she said, “Well, hello!” and then… “Now, you’ll have to help me.” I offered, “I’m Lee…” but, before I could say my last name, she said, “Oh yes! Lee Younger! How long has it been?” I told her that she had taught me in the late 80’s and we both laughed. She asked about what I was doing these days and how my little sister was. She gaped when I told her I had three kids and that one of them would be starting kindergarten this fall. As I walked away from that little meeting, I was struck by the fact that I had been her student twenty years ago!

I wondered what Mrs. Skeen thought about all of us back in third grade art… Did she see anything in those days that would tell her who we would all become? Did she know some of us would own businesses and some would stock shelves? No, she was a great art teacher, but all she really saw were our novice attempts at Batik and Conte Crayons.

This week I’ve been reading the story of Gideon… the guy God raised up to save Israel from the hands of the Midianites in the book of Judges. I remember hearing this Bible story as a kid and thinking how awesome, brave and strong this guy must have been to take on a massive army with only 300 men, but the truth is, he wasn’t really like that… in fact, when the story opens up, Gideon is hiding in a winepress, doing his farm chores in secret so the big, bad Midianites don’t see and kill him! In Judges 6, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon, a mighty warrior?! Are you kidding me!!?? The dude was shaking in his boots in his little hiding place! There wasn’t anything mighty or warrior-ish about that at all!

But God saw something no one else did. He looked at Gideon and didn’t just see the guy cowering in a winepress… he saw the man who would go on to rout the Midianites, tear down all the wicked idols and kill the enemies of God’s people with his own sword. God doesn’t just see what is, He sees what can be… what will be because of Him. You might look at your own life sometimes and wonder if it means anything. You might consider yourself a benchwarmer in the kingdom of God, but when He looks at you, He already sees you as you will be in Him! He sees stuff no one else sees in you. He sees things you don’t even see in yourself, and He’s the one who knows where this thing is going!

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