It was the 2nd Sunday of 2014, although my routine was quite familiar. Its the one Sunday out of the month that I am not expected to minister in dance during service. Instead, its youth Sunday and our youth dancers are to minister. They range in age 3-18. They have rehearsed at church (and hopefully at home) and are prepared to usher in the glory of God. Most of the dancers have their garments in place; but a few require assistance in getting them properly secured (can’t get undone in the house of the Lord, or can you?). We stress the importance of wearing proper undergarments just in case there is a wardrobe malfunction. As the dancers are prepared externally to minister, the music cues up and praise and worship begins.
Not long into the song, one of the youngest and smallest dancers’ sash unravels and falls to the floor. She does not stop ministering in dance to pick it up, or even leave the floor. She continues to dance as though the sash is perfectly secured in place. She executes every movement as powerful and in sync with the other dancers. Her face, like flint, not a bit telling of the fact that she is undone. When the song ends, she picks up the sash and leaves the floor. A myriad of emotions and thoughts flooded my mind. As one of the coordinators, I was proud to see our instructions followed. On many occasions we’ve stated, “no matter what, keep ministering.” Secondly, I thought, “and a child shall lead them” because she was not in the least bit concerned, but instead committed to her assignment. Finally, her ministry led me into a flurry of praise and gratitude to the Father for allowing me to witness this phenomenon. Its said that life imitates art. And so, our eyes beheld the fact that sometimes we are undone, unraveled and uncovered in the midst of a multitude, and yet our praise and worship is not to be interrupted.
Some of the hardest lessons I have learned (and I’m certain yet to learn) have emerged as a result of a public disappointment or humiliation. Its during those times, that I have wanted nothing more than to crawl up in a ball, roll into a corner and remain until way after the dust has settled. And yet, that is often more than impossible. Life as it stands, goes on, amidst whispers, questions, inquiries, assumptions and subsequently, the hurt, pain, agony and shame that accompanies said situations. Further as if it wasn’t hard enough, social media has provided yet another avenue to be made a public spectacle of self.
Its not as though these situations take God by surprise. By no means, not at all! In fact, he knew it was coming, allowed it to come and still expects us to seek refuge in him. Often I’ve thought, and said in my mind (as if he doesn’t know my thoughts), can’t you just let this pass over me and allow me to have fellowship with you minus the trial? But somehow, that thought and/or desire does not yield the conclusion that I desire. I must like the young dancer, be exposed to strengthen my faith, endure hardness as a good soldier, learn the lesson, seek Him and share my testimony.
Exposure is not easy. Rarely do we sign up for it. We don’t know how long it will take and at the onset, we don’t know how much it will cost. We are instructed to count it all joy (James 1:2-4), and that we should rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3-5); and that after we have suffered a while, God will provide restoration (1 Peter 5:10). Yet, all that we can seem to focus on is the present suffering and not the glory that shall be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). How do we get there? Its quite simple. We are commanded in 1 Peter 4:19: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to good.” We must demonstrate gladness in our tribulations and remind ourselves that its a necessary component of being chosen. Earlier in 1 Peter (v14) we are told, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” We are not told that it will not have an undone experience. In fact, in the dancers book, its just part of the choreography.
We are not alone. Just because your garment provides exposure, doesn’t mean someone else won’t soon be on display. You can take solace in the fact of the old adage of “what goes around, comes around.” Or as the ancestors would say, “keep on living.” Each of us will have an undone moment, but the key to victory is continuing to do what is expected of you. If you find that your garment loosens, as the song goes, I hope you dance! After all, for your shame you shall have double (Isaiah 61:7) and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). A new outfit is always in order as far as I am concerned.