Last night I returned to Vancouver from Toronto. For those of you unfamiliar with the time difference between British Columbia and Ontario, it’s 3 hours. Not surprisingly, I was wide awake at 4:45am. Although I think that’s too early for me to be awake, I decided to get up. I realized that I wouldn’t be going back to sleep so I might as well start the day. It’s been a long time since I rose with the moon still up, and as I scrambled out of my room I realized just how dark the night is. My home was a bit of a mystery to be discovered. I knew approximately where the stairs were, what doorways might have obstacles, and had to trust that no one was waiting to jump out and scare me as I slowly made my way through the house. I could see nothing, and each step I took was a tentative one, not really being sure if I was about to trip, slip, fall, or knock something over that would make noise and wake up the others.
As I was experiencing this I couldn’t help but think about being a deacon. (Seriously, I did!) I thought about what it’s often like when we first enter into this role. Many things that are familiar to us suddenly become strange, almost like night. We enter the council room and our church family becomes a bit foreign to us. We go on visits, but now they have an official purpose, and they feel different then the visiting we did before. We still participate in the offering but we’re passing the plates along. We make announcements, rather than just listen to them. We may have been aware of some of the needs around us, but now we must respond, rather than having a choice and deciding only if we have the time/energy/money. In any of these situations we may find that we feel like we're in a new territory, a bit lost, maybe out of place, and we can end up feeling as if we are trying to find our way in the dark.
The good news is this – the dark never lasts – light always rids the darkness. If you keep moving and searching with your hands out, you’re likely to find a light switch. But, even if you don’t, the sun will eventually rise, and then you’ll be able to see. So please, don’t feel scared, discouraged or overwhelmed. Know that God is with you. Trust that he has anointed and equipped you, and that he has gone before you, into whatever situation you are entering. Pray for his light to guide your path, so that the steps you take will be in line with his.
Friends, may you always find the courage to journey, confident of your calling, into those unknown places, and may those adventures bring you (and those blessed to be along your path) more fully into the life that Christ offers those who love him and follow him.
What situations have you encountered that have made you feel like you were stumbling in the dark? How do you respond when you feel like everything is different than what you formerly thought? What was the most surprising thing you discovered when you became a deacon?