No, I didn’t choke on any fluffy pom-pom balls, I wasn’t burned by glue guns, and I didn’t get strangled by pipe cleaners…but those options may have been more enjoyable. I led crafts for VBS at our church. Just for one night…but there were three sessions. It was rough. Afterwards, I wanted to run home and tell my husband that all the kids were mean to me and no one wanted to be my friend. Instead, I pouted and dug out the bag of chocolate I had stashed away for emergencies like this.
I thought my patience was growing and that my control issues were resolving. I am apparently regressing. If you need to be reminded that you really have no control over others, just stand in front of a dozen or so 5 to 7 year olds and try to explain to them the process of making a salvation bracelet. Yes, I admit, the thought of “total depravity” did cross my mind (do we really need any more evidence than that?).
I love kids, really, I do. Just in small, quiet doses. It’s hard staying cool trying to explain the sequence of: triple knot, black bead, red bead, white bead, blue bead, green bead, another triple knot, yellow bead, and triple knot again (side note: I vote to go with one, big rainbow bead next year, we can probably just tape it to their shirt or something). Plus, explanations and scripture verses all in 20 minutes. Throughout this (attempted) instruction, these kids seemed to have lots to say. To each other, of course. They weren’t very concerned with the red-faced lady, shouting and waving her arms in the front. Aghh! Don’t they know I’m trying to save their souls with the gospel via these colorful plastic beads!?!
Oh my…deep breath. Where did I put that chocolate?
Wow, it sure doesn’t take much for God to put our weaknesses on display! A little stress and the uglies come out. All God has to do is add a little heat and our sins come boiling to the surface. A little push where we don’t really want to go (teaching craft time in VBS) and out comes heart issues God wants dealt with (pride, control, vanity, lack of patience, oh…and idolizing chocolate). Ouch, God! I was pretty comfortable keeping all of those issues hidden and staying ignorant of my condition.
God has something to say about this: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13. Hidden sins, whether we are aware of them or not (and often we are but choose to ignore them) will not benefit us in any way. In fact, the very next verse says this, “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” (Proverbs 28:14). Ignoring sin in our lives is hardening our hearts toward the Lord. What does this lead to? Calamity! Calamity is “a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss.” (merriam-webster.com) And we don’t just bump into calamity, we fall into it. That fall is going to bring some serious hurt.
Our holy God will not put up with any sin in our lives, certainly not ones we are trying to hide or ignore. That calamity-inducing sin needs to go. God didn’t send his son to pay our debt in blood just for us to harbor evil. Jesus shed his blood on the cross so we could be washed clean of ALL sin.
God doesn’t ask for our opinion or consult our feelings before doing what he knows needs to be done. He is God. He may shove you in front of a bunch of sweaty, loud 6 year olds who have microscopic attention spans. He may allow someone you love to say something hurtful. He may let your child stomp on your last nerve. He may just give you a no good, rotten day. As you begin to feel those all-of-a-sudden-not-so-hidden sins begin to boil up within you (i.e. anger, hatred, control issues, dissatisfaction with God, impatience, blame, pride, etc.), remember two things:
Let’s thank God for his continuous work of purifying our hearts. He is a loving God who will not leave any heart-issue unresolved. Examine your life today and see what God is using to tease out hidden sin in your life. He may use a friend, a situation or even strings of colorful plastic beads.