A Blog Post by Lindsey Goodyear
Every August, our Messy Church planning team decides to take it easy. Since Summertime means vacations, parties, and other school-less activities, our messy congregation can get a little sparse during the warm months. Living in southern California, August is one of the hottest months so it is imperative to find shelter from the heat wherever you can. Sitting inside the sanctuary or any other indoor location, is simply not an option. So, we brought our messy gathering 100% outdoors and lined up the water themed activities! Walking on water, gutter races, water balloon toss, ring a duck, sprinklers, and the grand finale activity…A towering inflatable super water slide!
Normally, we spend our planning time coming up with activity ideas that directly correlate to the verse at hand. This Messy Church seemed to be more of a typical party, rather than a learning experience for our guests. Until we sat down, outside, draped in wet beach towels, and breathing in the smell of BBQ burgers in the warm evening air to listen to a verse from Isaiah.
“When you pass through the waters, I
will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze”
For me, personally, this deeply comforting verse came at the perfect time. Summer is time for lazy days and relaxing schedules but the looming stress of getting back to school, work, sports, and everyday rigid schedules was something undeniably in the air for all of us. I noticed, in June and July, members were buzzing with excitement as they detailed their delight for consecutive free days of leisure. Now, conversations had turned to back to school shopping, carpool, and work obligations. Yes, we were all still having a great time, but the verse hit home for a lot of us. And, when we listened to the celebration and what could qualify as “deep waters,” there was a noticeable shift as the congregation made the connections. Children of all ages were raising hands when asked if they ever felt in deep water with friendships or projects at school, while adults definitely raised their hands when asked about feeling in deep water with work and family responsibilities. The “wet n’ wild” event undoubtedly ended with an “aha!” moment for all parties involved when we realized just exactly what this verse meant…
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you”Isaiah 43:2
Life gives us a lot. Sure, it seems like the safer thing to do, rather than face the scary swells of life, would be to stay on shore. But, the truth is, the responsibilities we have are unavoidable. Going headfirst into the rapids may seem scary but that’s where Isaiah comes in. There is absolutely no chance of the river sweeping over you because God will ALWAYS reach you first. He is our permanent life preserver and knowing, without a doubt, that our God is stronger than the strongest current, means that those everyday terrifying swells turn to a lazy river in an instant. That’s not to say our stress and anxiety will cease to exist. It just means when it starts to creep in, remember He is there. Go forward with tight schedules and deadlines and know He is there. Face what seems too overwhelming to deal with, and know He is there. Demolish the torrent because He is there. He is always there.
“When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry.
Your lifeguard walks on water.”~Anonymous