My most memorable Halloween wasn’t about a costume or even the best treat or worst trick. It was the year I discovered a very important truth.
A Halloween alternative has almost always been part of my role as a Children’s Pastor. I planned the event. Recruited workers. Purchased supplies. Organized the set up, the event and the clean up.
It was always a huge event for us. It required hours and hours of hard work. And there’s no auto pilot for big events.
I wanna go!
In the middle of all my organizing and gathering supplies, Wayne came home with the news that he was going to a Ranger event on Halloween night. I wanted to go.
“It’s a leadership meeting. It’s a ‘meeting’. You can’t go!” He explained.
I knew that. But it would be a great drive into the country. I could envision the entire evening. The kids and I, they were really small, a toddler and a baby then, could take a walk on one of the trails. We could enjoy a campfire. Roast some marshmallows. It would be fun!
“All I ever do is work.” I complained. “I want to have some fun too!” Wayne agreed I could come. (Poor Wayne. He puts up with a lot!)
My extremely competent friend agreed to keep the show running Halloween night. I recruited extra workers. I had everything ready.
In the midst of my frenzied scramble I clearly heard God speaking to me, “No. Don’t go.”
I thought the voice was guilt, so I persisted with excuses why I should go. “I deserve to have some fun. I work way too hard. I never do anything fun.”
But I couldn’t get away from the strong inner conviction. It was clear, “Don’t go!”
It made me mad. I changed my plans, but I was mad.
I complained to God. “God, why don’t you want me to have fun? Do you know how hard I work? Do you really want me to work all the time?”
He didn’t answer.
I pouted. I complained. I stewed.
So I worked
The event was great. Hayrides. Lots of candy. Booths all over the parking lot. Food inside the fellowship hall. Lots of fun for everyone– except me.
Finally the night ended with trash everywhere. The trashcans lined with black bags were bulging with the remains of white cones with globs of blue gooey melting cotton candy, drink cups and candy wrappers. We picked up trash. Emptied cans. Vacuumed rooms. All while I fed my self-pity a tasty morsel, “I work so hard.”
It was late when we got home. Much, much later before Wayne arrived. But I was awake. By the time he got home, my pity-party was in full swing. Tears. Kleenex. You’ve attended a pity-party. You know the scene.
Not what I thought.
I heard the car pull into the driveway, so I met Wayne at the door. After my sweet hug and kiss. Wayne almost exploded, “I am so glad you didn’t come with me! It rained the whole night. Too wet for a campfire. It was cold and dark. It was miserable.”
For the first time, I saw the situation for what it was. I was shocked. The property didn’t have any walking trails. It was just a clearing in the woods. We would have had been sequestered inside the car the whole night. Imagine, how miserable it would have been to have too small babies inside a cold car for hours and hours.
God knew what the weather was going to be like. God loved me enough to want me to have a better evening than what I had planned. He knew how much I enjoyed being around people and how much I normally enjoyed this event.
He knew, but I thought I knew better than God. I thought I knew what was best for me, but I didn’t. He saw what I didn’t.
It was a matter of trust.
I thought God was trying to spoil my fun! I didn’t trust Him enough to believe He had my best in mind when He said no.
My image of God was skewed.
Because He is my loving Father, He puts Stop signs in my way. Not because He wants to keep me from having fun, but because He knows what is best.
What is your image of God?
Powerful Kill Joy?
I ruined my evening by having my personal pity party. But I learned from my mistake.
People ruin their lives, because their image of God is skewed.
Don’t do that!
Realize God’s Stop sign is not there to ruin your life, but enrich your life. Realizing that God is good, all the time, is a game changer.