Last week, I volunteered for Church of Southland’s family retreat by serving in the VBS for the children’s ministry. To be honest, I went because I knew that it wouldn’t be too hard. The retreat was at a nice hot springs in Murrieta, and we were going to be given a lot of free time. I thought to myself, “I can serve my younger brothers and sisters, but have fun and relax while doing it”… and I didn’t expect much else beyond that. But as always, God proved me wrong…
I’ve become so accustomed to feeling a sense of “transformation” through my cell group meetings, receiving prayer, or intense worship through retreats and such. So, how could I possibly feel the Holy Spirit working inside me at a VBS, where the activities mostly consist of crafts, games, “kiddie” body worship, and simple bible verses? By the end of the retreat, I realized how foolish my way of thinking was. I experienced first hand, that the Holy Spirit is at work everywhere and for everyone, no matter the age.
Two things that I can testify to from the VBS are 1) the worship time, and 2) bible study.
As a “teacher” for my group, I had to follow the body worship for every praise song. The body movements were pretty simple, so they weren’t that hard to follow. What surprised me, however, was just how powerful these simple body movements and the “kiddie” worship songs were. I felt myself moved, touched, and filled with joy every time I sang and danced for the Lord. God truly humbled me, but He didn’t stop there.
During regular Sunday service, I learn things about the Word that I never knew before — We go over very cryptic bible verses that might not make much sense at first, but after breaking it down, God’s profound message is clear and convicting. During VBS, we go over classic bible stories that are accompanied by very simple and well-known bible verses.
The Lord your God is with you wherever you go — Joshua 1:9
The Word of God truly is alive. You might read a verse one day and it might calm you, but you might read it another day, and it powerfully convicts you. Joshua 1:9 is possibly one of the most well-known bible verses, and it’s easy to remember, so it’s perfect for kids to learn. But, never underestimate the Word of God, no matter how “simple” it may be. I feel like I never truly appreciated this verse until I heard it again at VBS. As my moving date to St. Louis creeps closer and closer, I started feeling more anxious. When I revisited this verse this past weekend, however, God spoke to me. I wasn’t just reading a verse and accepting it in my head. God helped me to fully understand his promise.
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven — Matthew 18:3
I feel like as we grow older and life becomes more complex, we tend to see more gray areas as opposed to children seeing more black and white. As we gain more worldly knowledge, we start to question things, we doubt God’s word, we pick and choose what we want to follow, etc. We are like Adam and Eve after eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Instead of feeling empowered, we feel more shame and guilt.
At the end of the VBS, I was reminded of Matthew 18:3. God delights in his children, who follow faithfully without question, who are pleased with the most simple gifts, whose innocence is not yet tainted by the world. I was surrounded by His children the whole weekend, and it was the most tangible reminder from God, showing me what He delights in.
God is a funny God. He likes to (lovingly) prove us wrong, because it is the best way to teach us and to change our stubborn beliefs. This past weekend, He proved me wrong, and He taught me.
I was not sent to VBS to teach His children.
I was sent so that His children could teach me.