This ministry has its way of surprising you. These mixed surprises are one of the few constants that one can rely upon in this seemingly unstable, volatile and at times fragile ministry.
They aren't always pleasant. Half of them aren't. Last night shouldn't have come as a surprise, but its unpleasantness can still be felt.
Nothing extraordinarily bad happened last Thursday night. It's seemingly uneventful nature was striking. It felt just "meh", boring even, and that was the biggest problem. Usually on Thursday nights things go one way or the other, great or terribly bad. The unbearable middle is unfamiliar, and to a certain extent, unwanted. Best part is that I was leading. Perhaps this is just an overly pessimistic view of it, it probably is. I know good things came out of it in the end.
I know God wants to do great things with this little group, but sometimes it feels like it's just dying. One night, last year, I was to lead the group as well. Nobody came so I just stayed there praying. I was saddened by the absence of the boys. But something happened while praying.
I felt God was giving me these undeniable sense that He wanted to do great things in this little group. He wanted to revitalize it, and He wanted me to be part of it. I was deciding whether I should continue volunteering in the group at the moment.
So I stayed, and the group slowly became one of my priorities. In fact, I felt in love with it. Good things started to come, but no drastic change, and at times it feels like nothing has changed.
The group isn't consistently growing. There seems to be a lack of progress. Nights like yesterday makes me wonder if I was wrong in thinking that I was listening from God. It can be difficult to believe that when you see not much change.
But then again I have been lazy. I haven't planned out things as I should. I had relied too much on improvisation. I haven't prayed as much about it as I should. I forget that it is not my work, but His.
I find encouragement in this 19th century African American Spiritual, There is a Balm in Gilead:
Sometimes I feel discouraged
and think my work's in vain,
but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again.
This is my prayer today. Come Holy Spirit come. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Photo Credit: jhcloud8.