As church youth leaders, Tim and I get invited to our fair share of weddings. Especially now that we’ve been doing high school ministry for almost ten years – the invitations are rolling in. And although anything involving the word “formal” is not our forte, we feel very honored and blessed to be able to celebrate these special days with our former students and interns!
When our most recent intern, Jake, invited us to his wedding in northern Vermont, we were thrilled because the timing was perfect. We were already going to be in Vermont anyway, and the idea of leaving the kids with Nana and Grandpa and turning it into a weekend away for the two of us sounded great!
Since the wedding was on Saturday afternoon at 2:00, we took the opportunity to sleep in (woo-hoo!), go out to breakfast, and then visit some local friends for lunch. We got ourselves fancied up for the event, and, in typically Tim and Mandy style – left with just barely enough time to get there.
We pulled into the parking lot at 2:01 ( Yikes!), hurried out of the car, and started walking toward the building. As we got a little closer, though, we started hearing the beats of loud music coming from inside. “Hmmm… that’s kind of odd,” we thought. “Why would they be playing dance music before the wedding?”
Our questions were answered immediately when we walked into the building and saw this:
Yep, we were not just a minute late. We were three hours late. We totally missed the wedding. Ouch.
You may be wondering: How did this happen? Why in the world did we think the wedding was at 2:00 anyway?
The answer is: we have no idea. Tim says I told him it was at 2:00, and I think he told me it was at 2:00. Regardless, we both had every opportunity to double-check the time. Tim was even on Jake and Mackenzie’s (super-cool and very informative – why didn’t they have this when we were getting married?!) wedding website looking up directions the day before!
Truthfully, though, the majority of the blame falls on me.
You see, I recently discovered this amazing, revolutionary, life-altering feature on my phone. If you’re an iPhone person this may be hard for you to understand, but Android phones have these awesome things called “widgets”. And the Google Calendar app now has a “widget” that allows me to display my calendar on the home screen of my phone – no buttons to push, no days to select – my schedule for that day is right there every time I turn my screen on. As the day goes on, the events scroll through and I can see what’s coming next – so I’ll never miss anything!
As long as I actually look at it.
I can’t even tell you how many times that day (or any of the previous days, as this was the ONLY event on my calendar that week) I had been on my phone – reading a text, writing a message, or checking social media. And in all those times, I never actually looked at the calendar – because “Jake and Mackenzie’s Wedding, 11AM” was right there.
Two years ago this January, I set out to read through the entire Bible, and I officially accomplished that goal as of December 31st of last year. I learned so much and gained an incredible “big picture” perspective during that time! But for the next few years, I’ve decided to slow things down, go through it all again, and find all the little stuff I might have missed.
In my first few days in Genesis so far, I’ve already been shocked and brought to my knees several times by things I never noticed before or have come to see in a new way. In every segment of a few verses, there has been something that applied directly to my life or that has given me a deeper understanding of who God is and who I am in light of that.
The temptation, though, when I read passages like this that are SO familiar (I’ve read, studied, heard sermons about, and even taught on these verses dozens of times!), is to just skim over them or skip whole sections entirely because “I already know all of this”. But like my smartphone calendar, we make dangerous assumptions when we think we’ve seen or heard it all before – and then don’t take the time to really look at it.
Reading the Bible is not a ‘hit or miss’ activity. I don’t have to open it up just hoping that maybe God will speak to me through His words that day. Hebrews 4:12 says that, “the word of God is alive and active” and I can be assured that He always has plans to bring about growth and change in my life through it. There is something He wants me to see every single time I open it up – the question is: Am I also opening up my heart and my eyes to actually look for it?
The two-hour car ride home from the wedding last Saturday was a long one. We were frustrated, irritable and just flat-out disappointed. It wasn’t like anyone was depending on us being there – we only really knew one other person. And when we congratulated (and apologized to) Jake, he was very gracious and understanding.
But the thing was that we just missed out! We missed out on the experience of being there to see two really amazing people get married. We missed out on celebrating this important day with them!
One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible is found in the book of Esther. Esther, a queen, has been presented with a potentially life-altering opportunity. As she is weighing the risk, her older and wiser cousin, Mordecai, says this: “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
The truth is that God is God and if He wants to speak something into your life, He will absolutely find a way – whether you’re looking for it or not. But every time you read or hear a passage from God’s word you are facing a potentially life-altering experience – who knows that God did not place that exact verse in your path “for such a time as this”? Who knows but that the answer to your stress, your worry, or your burden that day might be right in front of you?
“Lord, open my eyes and ears and heart to Your Word today. I know You have something to say – and I don’t want to miss it!”