I missed. I prepared well. I thought the lesson would work. I got up to the plate and I swung with all my might. But I missed. I’m not sure when I realized it. There have been times it was after I sat down. There have been moments when I realized while I was speaking that I wasn’t connecting but didn’t know how to correct it.
I’m not sure why I struck out. It could have been that I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. It could have been that “good sister” who always comes to me before the lesson with a “concern.” It might have been that the song leader sabotaged the lesson with songs that drug and drowned but didn’t enliven. It has been one of the other worship leaders and what they said or didn’t say. It may have been that the clock was too much into my mind - or not enough. I may have chased a rabbit or said something that got others chasing that guy. It could have been that offhanded comment of criticism that came last week but like a bad piece of grizzle I’ve not been able to get out of my mind.
I kick myself, experience a few horrid moments of self-hatred (and people think they are being tough on us when the are critical! We typically are our own worst critics) AND then I get back up and vow to do better next week, to prepare with more precision, to fix what was wrong and to go forward.
But then one of kids handed me a little note on their way out of the building. It was short and simple and rich and inspired (or at least inspiring): “I hope you preach for us another 53 years…if that’s possible. I love your preaching.”
Preacher. If you preach God’s Word someone is always blessed. God’s Word is alive. Sent forth is never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). What was a strikeout to you was just the Word needed to grow the faith, give heart to the hurting and life to another. Be encouraged.