“You are the God who sees me…” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)
God shows up in remarkable places, in remarkable ways and at remarkable times. In the Spring of 2003 I was attending the Church Shift Conference at Community Christian Reformed Church of Meadowvale, Mississauga. If there was a ranking of conferences this one would have been right down near the bottom. There were no significant church leaders in attendance and the speakers were relatively unknown.
But God isn’t interested in pedigree or position. He’s interested in penitence. On Friday evening there was a wonderful time of praise and worship, preaching, and a drama involving dance, banners, flags and music. As the drama concluded you could have heard a pin drop. There was a living stillness as opposed to a dead silence. Expectancy hung in the air. Then a plaintive sob pierced the stillness. It was a sob unlike any other I’d ever heard – untarnished, sincere, heart rending. People started moving to the front of the church. Pastors asked market place leaders for forgiveness in not supporting and encouraging them in their vocations and market place leaders asked forgiveness for the divide they’d helped perpetuate between the market place and the church. It was significant, but the best was yet to come.
The conference chairman asked the youth to come forward. A motley group swelled the front ranks. What happened next was disarming. A man in his early forties knelt before the youth and began to pray; “I come before you as a father to ask forgiveness for how we’ve treated you . . . for being angry when we should have shown grace . . . for ignoring you when we should have been loving you . . . for criticizing when we should have encouraged . . . for judging when we should have nurtured . . .” On and on it went. I don’t remember all the words but my heart was pierced. Tears streamed down my cheeks and ran into my mouth. My chest heaved as sobs escaped my lips. The more the father prayed the more a young boy cried. The same plaintive cry that had pierced the stillness earlier.
Nothing like this could ever be orchestrated. It was a God thing. The boy, whom I later learned was named Andrew, was probably only about eight years old. There wasn’t another child in the gathering. God had appointed Andrew to be His instrument – a living expression of repentance and reconciliation. It was a kairos moment. Generational barriers were removed, strongholds of pride and position destroyed, and a breath of heaven filled the air. As hearts turned back to God, love flowed and healing ensued