“A placeholder, really, the guy who helped carry things. Once upon a time, he’d been the chopper pilot, but he’d screwed that up, and royally, so now he simply showed up for callouts and hoped not to ride the bench.”
Gage turned, leaned against the railing, his arms folded over his chest. “You’re worth more tot his team than you can ever know. And it’s not just because you show up with the pizza.”
“I just followed my instincts and we got lucky. Anyone with a map and a compass could do what I do.”
“But they don’t, do they? You show up, willing, and that’s the point.”
He stared at Chet. “What are you saying?”
“I think you’re called to be a pastor. Or a missionary. A member of the Lord’s team of rescuers.”
“I’m nobody special, Chest. Why would –“
“All you have to do is show up. God will do the rest.” He smiled. “And you’re very very good at showing up, Ty.”
My job is hard. I’m not a missionary overseas winning dozens of converts with every sermon preached. I’m a teacher. Someone who shows up for school every single day (ok, so my school is in my home, but still…) with some messages to teach. I pull out a devotion book, make my 5 and 6 year old students open their Bibles to find the passage without help from me, then read it aloud to me. Then I read them the devotion including an example of how the character trait can play out in daily life. Then we move into Books of the Bible summaries where I try to get them to understand how the story of God and what He’s done for us plays out across so many different smaller stories. Then I make them recite large chunks of Scripture from memory. Then I teach them phonics and sight words and vocabulary words and everything else necessary to read their Bibles for themselves. In the afternoon I do my best to open their minds and pour math facts and concepts in. Then we do history – a timeline covering important events in history all the way from Creation to AD 33 – covers one of our walls. Over and over through the day I say “Make a wise choice.” – referencing Proverbs 19:20 and our “Wise Student Actions” poster. But honestly? It often feels like I’m just beating my head against the wall. Am I really making any difference? Am I doing anything remotely useful? Is anything sinking in? The behavior struggles haven’t changed. A couple students sometimes act like they don’t know the difference between Moses and Noah. The “School is boring” (One of the worst phrases to ever enter a child’s vocabulary) phrase keeps coming out. Am I accomplishing anything?
That’s how Ty feels in Storm Front. He knows, KNOWS, the team doesn’t need him. He’s a grounded pilot, too afraid to step back into that cockpit and risk someone else nearly dying on his watch. He couldn’t save him mom. He couldn’t save Chet. He couldn’t save the girl he loved. He couldn’t even save himself!
But he keeps showing up. And he’s the one that is certain of where those lost kids are. He’s the hero needed. Just because he shows up. A bum knee, a broken heart, a fear of flying, and yet he’s what Peak Rescue needs – a man who will show up.
This winter, some missionaries came to our church and talked about how their work in a creative access country left them feeling like they were getting nowhere. They weren’t the missionaries to return with glory tales of record number of converts. They came to home assignment with names of a few people they’d invested years in who still had not made the decision to put their trust in Christ for their salvation. But they shared a proverb they had heard of how water dripping onto rocks makes big holes. The idea was that slowly, over time, small tiny things make huge impacts. God doesn’t ask us to show up and take the world by a storm. He asks us to just show up. Day after day after day. He asks us to keep spreading His Word, keep speaking truth, keep loving, keep witnessing, keep holding on.
Our summer camp theme is super heroes. Maybe we’ve got the wrong picture of a super hero. Maybe a superhero isn’t someone with crazy unusual abilities who saves the entire world on a daily basis. Maybe a real superhero is a Ty, someone who just shows up and does whatever God asks, whatever is needed, even if it’s just ordering the pizza.
Storm Front is the 5th in the Montana Rescue Series by Susan May Warren, published by Revell Publishers, May 1, 2018.
I highly recommend this book, this series, this author. Here’s a link a review of the first book in the series: http://cacbooksdevourer.blogspot.com/2016/11/wild-montana-skies.html