On a cold and clear November morning, we gathered in the sanctuary for worship. There was enough bite in the single digit wind chill to make one wonder if the calendar skipped a month and moved right on into winter. Inside, though, it was warm and pleasant.
After our bearded biker guy led us in the singing of “Spirit Song” by John Wimber, the pastor did not go up to the pulpit as expected. Instead, he spoke from in front of the communion table. “This may be more of a confession than a sermon,” he said, and proceeded to share with the group his frustration, anger and depression over the past several months about a disappointing situation in his life.
He spoke on briefly, “Some of you may be facing disappointment in your relationships, your marriages, your children, your jobs, with other expectations.” He then pointed up to Wimber’s song lyrics projected on the wall at the front of the sanctuary:
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name
O give Him all your tears and sadness
Give Him all your years of pain
And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name.
“It might be,” the pastor added, “that I’m the only one here dealing with something like this. It might be that this is nothing more than a church needing to see the example of its pastor humbling himself before them.” Again, he paused, then added, “Whether it’s just me or all of us, I know that none of us can have the life that Jesus wants us to live until we are willing to surrender all of our disappointments, all of our tears and sadness, all of our years of pain.”
As the guy in the booth at the back dimmed the lights, he turned then, walked over and knelt in prayer. While the worship leader and piano player resumed softly singing “Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs…” a dozen others joined the pastor at the altar.
There is incredible power in humility and all spiritual filling begins with surrender.