A Stranger’s Gift
About a year ago Sawyer went to state Bible drill competition. For those of you who aren’t Baptist, Bible drill is an awesome and terrifying competition where children as young as fourth grade memorize 25 scripture verses and figure out how to locate 10 key passages and all the books of the Bible in under 10 seconds. It’s one of the most intense things that I’ve ever watched my children do, but I love hearing 10 and eleven-year-olds rattle off one scripture after another.
Sawyer isn’t one who loves being singled out in front of a crowd, so when he is called on in competition, his answers come at just above a whisper. As intense as it is for me, it is so much more for him, as he stands there, red-faced, trying to get his fingers to move fast enough to find what he’s looking for.
He did amazing at the state level. He had a perfect drill up until the last and most difficult section, which is the key passages. When he didn’t find the first one in time, I saw his eyes fill with tears. He was trying so hard to hold it together, but he was bitterly disappointed that he wasn’t going to get a perfect score. By the time the competition was over, his tears were flowing freely, and all the sweet families from our church who were there with their children were hugging and encouraging and consoling him.
I stood beside him, feeling so sorry for this child who had just stood up and done something that I couldn’t have done in a million years. I was contemplating how he was feeling, how I could make him feel better, and I was firmly focused on this moment that was playing out in front of me: my little boy, crushed, embarrassed, pained.
Then a stranger walked up to him. She was a blonde woman, a motherly type. She was small but carried herself with an air of purpose. She put her hands on both of Sawyer’s shoulders and looked him in the face. “Listen,” she said. “This was about God’s glory. And you glorified God tonight.”
Just like that, her words gave me a spiritual vision that I hadn’t had a moment earlier. I realized that I didn’t see this experience through spiritual eyes, but through temporal ones, and when she spoke to Sawyer, she helped me to see the bigger picture of this moment. We all need an eternal perspective. We need to remember how our everyday experiences fit into God’s greater plan. And, this kind stranger spoke the truth that helped me to shift my focus–she saw things through a biblical lens, and she helped me to look through it with her.
Sawyer dried his tears. He seemed satisfied with the thought of glorifying His God, the author of the very Bible that he has spent so much time studying. I wonder if he realized that he had been given the gift of a shift in spiritual perspective. I hope her words will stick with him and that he will understand that he can glorify God with his one-decadelong life. I watched him do it on that night. And I almost missed it.
I have thought a lot about that little blondehaired stranger since then. I want to be the type of person who so clearly sees things with an eternal perspective that when I speak, it will help others to have spiritual eyesight. I want to be so Christ-focused that I recognize the spiritual significance of what I’m seeing from day to day. And I especially want to be a mother and a wife who helps her family to realize that there are plenty of things about life that will try to distract us, even our sympathies and fix-itnow attitudes. But, in the end, it isn’t about us or our feelings about things or even our good deeds. Sawyer could have gotten a perfect score that night, but it would have been a complete waste if someone hadn’t reminded him of this truth: it’s all about God’s glory.
I’m grateful that God gives us a place in His story. He gives us the opportunity to glorify Him with our lives in big and small ways. I know He was pleased when a sweet freckle-faced tenyears-old turned three shades of red in Allen, Texas, on a Friday night. All for God’s glory. I see it now.