New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
It was my first day on the job. That evening an APPRECIATION BANQUET was planned, thanking Sunday School teachers for their faithful leadership. All I had to do was show up and say a few words.
I remember walking into a room of strangers thinking, “Who am I to lead this group of highly educated, well established people? Will my passion for children be enough to guide them, teach them how to disciple children?”
I thought back to the days in Oregon reading through “A Theology of Children’s Ministry” by Dr. Larry Richards. Had the Triune God been preparing me for this way before I knew where He was taking me? Was I capable of doing this?
Dinner started, and nothing unusual happened… only the drone of table talk.
Then the evening’s program was underway – primarily to recognize adults serving during the past year. Everything was still going well… until I was introduced.
Even now I have no memory of what I said. What comes to mind still disturbs me.
Toward the end of my talk, a terror began to take over my body like I had never felt before. I grew weak, nauseated; I wanted to run but I knew I couldn’t.
I continued to talk and smile.
Only the Triune God could have given me the strength to keep talking and not run. I wonder if what I said made sense?
What was going on? I took a seat.
I sat there trying to keep a smile on my face while my body tightened even more. I looked around the room; I needed help, but whom? I barely knew anyone.
OH, JESUS AM I GOING CRAZY?
What do I do?
I spotted the wife of a psychologist.
While I didn’t know her well, her reputation told me she was someone I could trust.
“I may be sinking into madness. Please ask your husband to call me tonight. I need help.”
I was hired to serve as Director of Children’s ministry in one of the fastest growing churches in America. Was I on my way to an asylum, where I would spend the rest of my life in a rocking chair?
The psychologist called me that night, listened to my story, calming me down. He made an appointment to see him in his office… the next day.
After a few visits, he said he wasn’t trained to do the type of counseling I needed. He thought there was something physical going on.
It would be five more years before
I found another psychologist.
I had given up on medical doctors.
In the following days, per my journal, I delved into Ephesians 6.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
Perhaps it was around this time that God first gave me the image of clinging to Him as He dragged me through the streets. With each new obstacle He allowed to be laid in front of me, He gave me the strength to keep moving forward.
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee … and imagine we are chatting.
Each day, putting on the full armor of God became an essential routine. For a time, I did it with my children as they were about to leave for school.
No matter the path God places in front of us, if we walk with the Triune God, we are assured we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. We are never alone on that path. We are promised that God is with us – He will provide what we need.
Take some time to study Ephesians 6:10-20. Studylight.org has a variety of commentaries you can use as well as other tools.
This link takes you to John Calvin’s commentary on Ephesians 6. Scroll down to verses 10 – 20.
The Whole Armor of God
 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,
 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (ESV)
The next page: Who/What is the Refiner’s Fire?