President Jimmy Carter once said, “God answers prayer in three ways.  “Yes.”  “No.” and “You have got to be kidding.”  I’ve gotten a lot of those “You’ve got to be kidding” answers to my prayers.

I’ve said, “God answers prayers in three ways, “Yes,”  “Wait,”  and “No, but I’m going to give you something much better.”  My personal experience has been that God honors our prayers so much that he loves to shower us with blessings beyond anything we can ask or think.  When our son was stationed in Korea, I prayed for two years that God would give me a trip to Korea.  Not only did I get a free trip to Korea but God threw in a week in Hong Kong as a great, big bonus. 

Years ago, God spoke to me and told me that he had a great work for me to do.  A couple of years later, I had my first book published.  It was a best seller.  I was certain that this was the great work he had for me.  But somehow my big break in the publishing world slipped through my fingers and I was left sitting in a secretarial job at a church.  After taking the position, I fretted for two weeks.  Before coming to this church, I had, had a secretary.  Now I was one.  One morning after two miserable weeks, I got down on my knees and prayed, “God, make me the best secretary that there ever was.”

I’m not sure I was that great a secretary; but my attitude changed that morning.  It was while in this position that God led me to The Special Gathering.  Five years later, I started working full-time in this wonderful ministry.  It has been a fantastic ride.  Somehow I thought that the great work that God had for me meant fame and fortune.  I really did not understand God’s ways at all.  He meant to bless me with love and acceptance by the most wonderful group of people I’ve ever met–the mentally challenged community.

A couple of weeks ago, the Special Gathering choir sang at a small church in a neighboring town.  The pastor moved into this small church because his denomination sent him there to rebuild the congregation.  He is an amazingly gifted preacher, singer and praise and worship leader.  His entire career, he has taken small, dead churches and pastored them back to health and growth.  All of the churches he has taken had less than 50 in attendance.  After three years, they would be thriving and healthy with 300 or more members.  As soon as the church was healthy enough for him to leave, he would be assigned to another faltering church.

Ministry is a tricky, ticklish thing.  As rewarding as the pathway is, more sometimes means less; and less can actually mean more.  Ministering within the disability community are  many gifted pastors, teachers and leaders.  These are men and women who have made deliberate decisions to leave behind the church-fame for a better, higher, more lowly road.