are conferences, there are CONFERENCES, and then there is The Big Hoo-Ha.
It is held once a year and Honey Pie gets to go. Every year. I
have been able to go twice in 10 years and yippie-ki-yaa this year was one of
The Big HooHa is as close to hallowed ground as you can imagine. Here little ol me is able to walk the
same halls, beside, behind and in AWE of, great men and women. Giants of the faith. Missionaries. Church planters.
Elders who have, literally, given all.
am not ashamed to say that I get star-struck to see Hero’s sitting in the same
section as I am, or eating in the same restaurant, or standing around talking
in the hotel lobby. People, who my
mom read the autobiographies aloud to me, people who my Dad memorized the names
& continents where they were working, so we could pray for them. Great singers/songwriters who’s voices
accompanied many a prayer meeting.
Great people. Servants. Heroes.
arena where the BHH is held is the kind where pro basketball teams play. It’s big, and there are lots of people.
There is a space of about 30 ft between the elevated platform and the first row
of chairs. This space is
designated as an altar area, for prayer at the conclusion of the service. The first two nights I so wanted to get
to the front altar area to pray, but the aisles quickly filled up and unless you were the size of a small boned elementary school pupil, there was no
room to kneel in the bleacher section.
when the preacher has moved me to my very soul on night 3, I know that I’m most
likely not going to be able to make it down when the invitation is given. I am
so moved by the message, I know I NEED to respond, but chances are slim to none
that I’m actually going to get through the throng when he is done.
I am struck with a brilliant idea. I’ll go down now, to the side of the altar area, near the front for the few remaining
moments of the sermon. Then when
the invitation is given I can move to the front to pray.
climb up an over everyone in my row. I clamber, as quietly as one can in high
heels on metal stairs, down to the front, deposit my purse on the front row and
step into the side altar area.
raised, I’m ignoring the million-bazillion people around me, in the way you can
only do in a HUGE crowd, and I’m talking to God. Until… “Laaaaady you hata mooo.” Eyes closed, I take a step to the left.
still just me and God. Until…
“Mammm, you rrrr inaway”, another
step to the left. Ten more shoulder taps and gentle pushes to the left before
finally I figure it out. I have inadvertently positioned myself between the
deaf choir and their interpreter.
I open my eyes. And look
right into the eyes of…. the preacher.
yes indeedie. I am NOT along the
I am SMACK in the
Seriously. I am so close; I can count the nose
hairs on the big wigs (Becky Miller ~ you know who you are) on the platform.
Oh great. What now.
Maybe this is a good time to sing "I'm going to dance for you like no body's watching". Maybe not. Maybe I'll never sing that song again.
is no time to keep calm and carry on.
This is time to panic and freak out. Because I can tell that he is NOT finished. Not even close. And as soon as he says, “You may be
seated” everyone around me is going back to their seats, because they HAVE
one. Everyone but me, the Brilliant Idea girl.
that nano second, I have a choice to make. I eyeball the platform, noticing the skirted bottom. If I dive and
scoot I just might make it before the “Please be seated”. But then, how would I get back
out? What if there are electrical
thingies under there that could crispy critter me? Scratch that plan.
eyeball the bleacher seats. It’s a
loooong walk back over to the side.
Maybe not such a long way in any other circumstance, but here, I would be as conspicuous as streaker on the runway at a Burka fashion show. What to do?
I back up, waaaay up, until I feel my legs hit a chair. In my peripheral vision
I see that the ENTIRE front section has been designated for the deaf choir who
ministered earlier. I have just been called to the deaf ministry. I sit down, praying no one
asks me to move. I figure I’ve
moved quite enough tonight, thank you very much.
sat there a mix of contradictory emotions. I am embarrassed. Figuring that plenty of folks are laughing
at my lopsided, sidestepping, in-the-way progress to where I sit.
scared. Afraid that other people
will think I’m lying, sitting here on the reserved seats, that I’m pretending
to be deaf so I can score a front row seat.
mad. Angry that I didn’t NOTICE
the whole deal before I stepped right smack into the middle of it.
I hear the preacher, the one and only Rev. Terry Black, and my focus is drawn
away from my circumstance, back to the Big Picture. I realize that I’m here, half by choice, half by other people’s
choice, but I’m here… so why not just BE here.
I do. I listen. I forget where I am and how I got
here. I weep unashamedly as my
heart receives the message God sent him to share. And I don’t even have to wait for the invitation. I am able to step forward, kneel, bow
my head and my heart, and spend a season of prayer surrounded by the throngs of
other people called to a personal altar.
have you found yourself, unexpectedly?
Have you stepped forward in faith, only to find yourself hanging out in
the middle, further than you expected to be?
you feel embarrassed by the position someone else has pushed you into, or
fearful that your intentions will be misinterpreted.
you’re angry with yourself for not being more careful.
Regardless of how you got here, God has something to teach you. A personal alter for you to experience. An altar is a place where something dies. Why not crawl up on it? Why not offer your plans, your intentions, your emotions, burn them up as a sacrifice and listen to what God has to say to you. Here.