Some of the most important moments of faith do not come from the places we expect. They may not come from behind a pulpit or an altar, in corporate worship, or during a retreat. Those of us leading congregations are often tempted to think God works through us most. In our best moments, we are able to point to God's work and simply step aside. But sometimes we forget that the Spirit of God is working even harder than we are. Sometimes this can catch us off guard. Like when I met Annie.
Annie was sitting outside the doors of our sanctuary. She had a battered, plastic blue shovel in one hand, her father's hand in the other, and drool dripping on her shirt. Her father looked tired. No—beaten. Beaten by the unfulfilled dreams his daughter's disease stole from him. Beaten by the guilt of wanting something more for his child. Frustrated at a God who would allow his daughter not to be "normal."
I had just finished leading our children's worship when I saw his daughter. To my naive surprise, Annie ...1