Andy was only a green 20 year old when he was called to his very first pastorate out in the panhandle of Oklahoma. Located in a rural isolated community, this tiny church was accustomed to getting “newbies” as the pastors. Preacher boys needed somewhere to learn pastoring and public speaking, and that church did a fine job of tolerantly being that somewhere.
Some weeks after arriving, it was time for Andy’s ‘Ordination to the Ministry’ service. A ceremony usually held by a young minister’s first church; it is a public affirmation of his call from God to be a minister. It is typically very formal, so young and inexperienced as he was, Andy was feeling extremely edgy. At the beginning of the service, Andy stepped forward to welcome everyone and took that opportunity to publicly admit how excited and nervous he was feeling.
A ministry ordination service is deeply meaningful to a young man called by God. Usually there is a musical solo from a close personal friend, then a short ordaining ceremony performed by other ordained preachers and then the young candidate gives his message. And because it is such a formal service, all involved have their part practiced and polished to a fine sheen. For that special day, Andy had asked a thirteen-year-old boy in the church to play “How Great Thou Art” on his trumpet. Sweet kid, outgoing, loved by his pastor and everyone in the church, Tommy was the perfect choice for the job. When asked, he eagerly agreed to provide the special music. But something happens when nerves set in, especially for someone as young as that boy. In front of a standing-room-only crowd that day, the harder he tried, the worse he played. He gamely fought through a verse and chorus of the now barely recognizable song, which held more squawks and squeaks than a cage full of outraged chickens. When the last squeal faded, he lowered his horn, leaned on the pulpit in front of him and spoke directly to Andy sitting on the front row. “Brother Andy, if you can’t get up here now and preach better than that, then I suggest you just hang it up and go find something else to do!”
The crowd erupted in laughter as the embarrassment everyone was feeling was relieved, and the heavy formality was broken.
Sometimes it’s just better for things to not go the way we carefully planned. Sometimes. What we see as a flub-up in life can be the very thing that God uses to free us. Trust and faith in God can be difficult, but always worth the struggle.
“Am I God, or is He? Am I the One who created the whole universe out of nothing in just seven days? If He is God, then I have to believe that what He allows in my life is best for me, and I will just walk on.”