Murphy’s Law has been in full effect for me this week, it seems.
You know, that whole thought that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”? Yeah, I think I can confirm that it’s true.
It’s been a frustrating, sad, and grueling couple of weeks for me. I have an incredibly heavy plate of events to manage in the spring and summer, so my workload is increasing steadily. It’s the time of year where our 8th grade confirmands are submitting their written testimonies of faith, so I’ve been reading and editing up a storm.
On top of that, I’ve had a number of kids confiding serious feelings and problems to me. Several things in our apartment have failed and have had to be replaced. We had a serious storm that damaged our apartment complex and forced us to evacuate and hide in the church basement at midnight one evening. Friends from my workplace were let go. My boss’s son was tragically killed in a car accident last week, and our entire staff is heartbroken over his family’s loss.
This weekend didn’t make things much better.
Due to a mistake in our calendar system, I found out at the very last-minute that our entire youth event I had been planning all week would have to be shifted to an entirely different building, as our student center was booked for a private event. I stood outside in 40-degree weather, in the middle of a thunderstorm and a tornado watch, shuffling dozens of kids from one building to another. By the time I got inside to lead the event, I was soaked to the bone.
Not only did I have to come up with an event and new devotion on the fly, I also had to discipline some of my favorite students harshly–which is never fun.
And then I snapped my key to the church off in the door, thus locking myself out when I needed to get in to set up for a class I was teaching.
Apparently I have superhuman strength?
Good to know.
The next time someone needs to lift a tractor trailer off of a preschool playground, I’ll volunteer.
I spent literally all day at church on Sunday, worshipping in the morning, teaching a Communion Instruction class to families in the afternoon, and leading our senior high small group in the evening. Somehow, I managed to get a horrific papercut on my finger, which was only made worse by the object lesson I did on Sunday afternoon that involved me plunging my hand into a basin of vinegar and salt.
As painful as it sounds? Yes.
Yesterday, I ate a salad at my desk and dropped a large chunk of bleu cheese on the floor under my desk. It promptly rolled to some unknown region of darkness, and is now lurking there, out of my reach and likely to stink abominably for the next few days.
Oh, and I also got my pant leg stuck in my desk chair so badly that I had to cut the hem of my jeans in order to extricate myself.
See? Murphy’s Law.
I am completely and utterly demoralized and drained.
But you know what? I received this text this week, from one of my high school students:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
I realized something: in the midst of all that frustration and pain, I hadn’t given much attention to the amazing things that God was revealing to me in the last week.
I had the opportunity to worship on Sunday with three college boys–kids from the very first youth group I’d ever volunteered with, when I was a college student living in Florida for a summer. They took a long roadtrip just to see us this weekend and hang out with us in St. Louis.
As I sat with them, head bowed, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, I had tears in my eyes as I remembered sitting with them at a different church four years ago, praying with them there. I was only a college student then, but I was just as passionate about reaching people and sharing Christ’s love with them. Even though I didn’t know them very well at that point, I loved them fiercely.
I remembered going to bed every night, praying for these teenagers by name and trusting that God would guide them through the difficult years of high school and college that were just ahead of them.
I remembered sitting up with them in the hallways at the National Youth Gathering in 2007, counseling them as they worked through some serious doubts about their faith–talking and praying for hours into the night as they wrestled with challenging feelings and difficult questions.
I remembered them gleefully throwing me into a pool when I was fully clothed…and then sharing their towels with me when I climbed out of the pool, shivering.
This weekend, I sat with three former students who are now incredible men of faith. And as I sat there with my head bowed, it was if the Holy Spirit was whispering to my heart, “See? This is what I do. This is what you get to have a small part in. I’m reaping a harvest. Don’t give up. I’ll be your Strength. I’m working here.”
As distracted and busy and worn out as I get, I know God is still working in mighty ways. And it is my true privilege to get to have a small role in His incredible work.
And when Murphy’s Law strikes again–as I know it will–God will still be working then, too.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)