Daniel in the lions' den. David facing Goliath. Me calling bingo at the seniors center. At some point you have to ask yourself, "What in the world am I doing here and will I survive this endeavor?"
I entered the amazing world of bingo last week when I called bingo for an hour at the Fowler Senior Center. It was fun, crazy, and surprisingly intense. When the pot for each game is a whopping $7, emotions can run high. For an hour one thought ran through my mind, "Screw this up and you're going to be mobbed by fifty little old ladies and angry old men." I think I'd rather face the lions and the giant.
I survived my ordeal and actually had fun. I'd probably be willing to do it again. But I was still faced with the question, "What in the world am I doing here?" That question was answered after the bingo ended and the seniors were leaving. When almost everyone was gone, a young man, about 25 years old approached me and asked, "Are you a pastor?" I nodded yes and he asked if he could speak with me.
We sat down and he proceeded to pour his heart to me. I listened to his troubled story of a life filled with drugs, violence, and abuse. To say his words were disturbing is an understatement.
Over and over he said, "I just want God to show me how to live my life." It was clear he was paralyzed with a fear of the future. The thought of living right for the rest of his life was overwhelming, guaranteeing defeat before he could even start to change.
Every once in a blue moon I come up with just the right insight. Trust me, it doesn't happen nearly as often as I wish it would. But in this instance I knew just what to say. I gently suggested that he stop asking God to help him with his future. This advice surprised him, he stopped speaking and just listened. And then, borrowing from my friends in recovery, I suggested he try asking God to help him just one day at time. I encouraged him to begin each day by asking God to just get him through that day.
I saw the light bulb light up in his eyes, as a smile came across his face. He got it. And I got it. I understood what in the world I was doing there. God is funny that way. He loves to set up divine appointments when we least expect it.