By Steve Atkinson
During my time in Central Asia , I had the opportunity to speak at a youth retreat. In one session, I talked to them about why we should hang out with God, how we should hang out with God, and what happens when we do hang out with God. It was an amazing time and I was glad that it spoke to the youth. That same evening we went off and spent some time before God in Silence and Solitude to just listen to what He wanted to say to us.
As I was listening to God, I was reminded of an occurrence that happened earlier that day. I had just started to fly a kite when I was approached by a local child of about five years old. He came alongside me, determined to fly the kite by himself. I spent some time trying to help him, but he really didn’t want my help; so I let him try. Each time he started, the kite would only make it a few feet off the ground before it fell. He tried a few times but was never able to get the kite into the air by himself. I persisted, trying to convince him that he needed my help. Together, we got the kite up in the air and the little boy grew in confidence. Again he pushed me away, and the kite plummeted to the ground. I helped him again and again, and each time, as soon as the kite took flight, he pushed me away. The kite would stay up for a short while, then flutter as the boy flailed his arms frantically, before the kite would again plummet to the ground.
While I was listening to God, I felt like He was asking me to think through that image. As I stopped and entered into a time of silence, I realized that God had been trying to speak to me. God was reminding me that I was just like that little boy, God has invited us into his Mission for the world. We need to allow him to help us or we are not going to get very far. The intimacy of God helping us is the picture that I was seeing. He is not a dictator that is looking down on us, He is a loving father who wraps his arms around us and allows us to lean on him for support. I recalled the verses from Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
The other important thing is that He does not need our help to complete his Mission for the world, just like I did not need that child’s help to fly the kite, but he invites us into his work even though he knows we will mess up sometimes.
Steve is a 2014 Intercultural Studies graduate who did his internship in Central Asia with MB Mission’s TREK program.