I awoke two Thursdays ago with the panicked thought that it was my week to lead Bible study. The schedule and my calendar confirmed that it wasn’t but still I couldn’t shake the sinking feeling in my gut. I headed to church hoping for the best. When I walked into the abbey at 9:15 a.m. (a little early JUST IN CASE), I saw Sue seated in the leader’s chair and raised my hands to heaven saying “Thank you, Jesus.” The Bible ladies laughed.
There was some discussion about our altered schedule – which was convoluted in so many ways – and I left that day CONFIDENT that I would be leading chapters 12, 13 and 14 on April 9.
So I stayed up until just past midnight completing the lessons and preparing to lead.
I arose early this morning, drove to a fancy schmancy market, bought an assortment of muffins and biscotti and headed to the church feeling good about being on top of things and ahead of schedule. I even remembered to bring some really cute napkins. Yessiree, I would have plenty of time to set out the treats, brew the coffee, cue up the video and take my seat to lead a brilliant discussion.
Except that we were discussing chapters 9, 10 and 11 today.
The class coordinator got out the revised schedule and proved it. Crud, I didn’t get a copy of that version. Perhaps it was handed out the week I missed because I was frantically finishing up the booklets for a presentation the next day. Or perhaps she gave them out the following week, when I missed to take my sister to the doctor. Dang it.
Not only had I not prepared to LEAD those chapters, I HAD NOT EVEN DONE them. We were about to put my winging it skills to the test.
I took prayer requests, prayed and then confessed that I hadn’t done the lessons. Woman after woman confessed that she hadn’t done them either. Only three of them had done the homework and one of them had to leave early for a funeral. Lord have mercy.
Thank God for all the time I wasted doing acrostic puzzles. Thank God for the ability to read and lead at the same time. Thank God for educated guesses: Let’s see, I thought as I read a few questions ahead, the context is the power of prayer, the main character is Elisha and the passage I was SUPPOSED to have read is 2 Kings 6. Is that the time Elisha asked God to open the servant’s eyes so the servant could see that the invisible army that was for them outnumbered the physical army that was against them? And then Elisha asked God to blind the physical army and He did?
“Helen, what happened in 2 Kings 6?” Thank God Helen did her homework. It was just as I guessed, and thank God I knew enough about that passage, and the others we were to have studied for today, to intelligently lead the discussion.
Thank God for all those years of Bible study and Scripture memorization.
At the end of class several of the ladies said, “Great discussion.” And then Sue said, “You pulled it off because you know your Bible.” Thank God for encouragers.
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. And that I might not tank at leading Bible study unprepared.” (paraphrased)
P.S. I am NOT condoning winging it with Scripture. God’s word certainly deserves the respect of preparation. But sometimes the best laid plans go horribly awry.