The Wound Is Where the Light Shines Through
By year six, you might have thought that there was not much more for me to learn. I had been involved in Summer OFF since its inception, and by this point, Susan and I were leading the whole program. It had grown to the point that it needed its own leadership, so that we could focus on other aspects of Philip Center ministry. So what else was there for to learn, except how to hand off Summer OFF successfully?
I found out very quickly in summer of 2016 that God had an important lesson to teach me. And what better way to do it then to use the example of the devotion I used that very morning to inspire our team?
It was Day 2 of Week 2. Our church was in Dexter Park. I had just finished the morning devotional. I talked about getting to know the kids in the park, and being real with them. Being transparent. They will open up to you, I said; don’t be afraid to share how God has worked in the messes of your life. I referenced what at the time was a brand new song by the band Switchfoot, “The Wound Is Where the Light Shines Through”. Anyway, devotion over, time to start the day.
That day I was the designated “game and sports leader”. So, as usual, I rolled out the soccer ball and waited for all the kids come. And come they did, probably about eight or ten kids right off the bat. Most of them ages seven to nine.
Not even five minutes into playing, the ball quickly changed direction and in turn so did I. That’s when it happened. I heard a load “pop” and I fell to the ground like I had been hit by a sniper's bullet. The pain was excruciating. I jumped up, planted my foot and dropped right back to the ground letting out a scream from the pain. I got up again and hopped off the field on my good foot.
It was not until a week later that I found out that I had blown out my Achilles. For the moment, my concern was, what about the rest of the week?
There was actually no need to worry. We had a great team. People stepped up and filled in, things never missed a beat. But wait a minute. I was still here. I wanted to contribute, maybe I even needed to contribute. Was I finding my identity in what I could do?
I was comfortable in the “games and sports thing”. I am terrible at face painting and arts and crafts and most of the other Summer OFF stuff. So what can I do when I get out of the car the morning of Day 3 on crutches? How will I find myself useful? I tried to put on a good face, but under my breath I was thinking, this is going to be a long, lonely morning.
So after the morning devotional, after we all had a good laugh at letting the light shine through the wound (Why did I choose that song!), I hobbled over to an area where I could sit down and put my leg up. It happened to be near we have a station called “Books on a Blanket”. A place for younger kids that might want to be read to.
After sitting by myself for a few minutes, a young boy, probably around age five, came over to me and handed me a book. He just stared into my eyes. I asked him, Would you like me to read this to you? With a shy smile he nodded his head yes.
And for the next thirty minutes we read quite a few books, including “Who Would Be King”. That is the book we use to present the Gospel to the kids at Summer OFF. We read it a couple of times and he took a copy with him when his mom came to get him. He was the first of a few kids that day and then a whole bunch the next day.
What could an “old, wounded dog” learn at Summer OFF this year? Be patient. Be available. Don’t limit yourself by your perceived limitations. Be faithful and God will be faithful in return.
That half hour with that little boy, reading books and explaining God’s free gift of grace, was one of the best days of my life. The light shone through the wound that day and I had grown in the process.