The other night I was preaching. I was just giving it! I mean I was on fire! God had given me the words to say and it was incredible!
Then it happened!
My pants started falling off.
Actually they were shorts. Yup, I am the kind of preacher that wears shorts and sandals. And a shirt. I always wear a shirt.
I don’t stay behind a pulpit or a podium when I talk. I walk around while I talk. Whenever possible I connect with people when I speak. This evening was a great setup for this. Unfortunately the word setup is more appropriate than I realized.
So there I am in front of the church with rows of chairs in a semi circle around me and rows of pews behind them. I am right in the middle of the main aisle about standing right where everyone could get a good look at me.
At first, it was a slight loosening. No problem I thought. I’ll make my way behind the podium and give them a subtle hoist. But I wanted to make a point. So I stood there in front of everybody and talked. Then they slid. A tiny little bit.
Now I knew I was in trouble, so I start walking backwards towards the podium. Now they’re gathering momentum and sliding down fast!
So I do what any man would do in this situation. I started walking backward bow-legged. By the time I got near the podium I was looking like a constipated crab!
I had to say something. Even the most devout listener was wondering if they had to lay hands on me and free me from whatever demon possessed me.
“My pants are falling off.” I calmly announced much to the delight and relief of the church. Then I slipped behind the podium and gave them a good hoist up. The podium by the way is only about four feet high and two feet wide so there wasn’t much room to disguise anything. Weird time to be exposed.
But here’s the thing. I kept preaching. Even when the shorts started to fall, throughout the backwards bow-legged crab walk, and even trying to hide behind a chopsticked size podium hoisting them back up. I kept right on preaching.
There’s a lesson in here somewhere. Okay, there’s the obvious one of wearing proper clothes that fit. But there’s another one as well. The entertainment industry has a saying: The show must go on. Shouldn’t that be true of Christianity as well?
The show in our case is the Gospel of Christ. I kept on preaching despite the embarrassment. There are so many times things happen that would make a normal person quit. Good thing I am not normal. And neither are you. In recovery it is said that normal is just a setting on a dryer. You see we all have different things with which to deal.
Circumstances that are hurtful or difficult can really through us off track. Try going to work when your family is in crisis. Try going to school when you have no food. These things draw us away from whatever our tasks are. Instead of focusing on what we’re doing, we focus on what’s happening in our homes or in our lives. Our attention is towards the obstacles and not the solution.
We must keep going on and many of us do. But we go on like a wounded soldier. We hide behind the podium. We try to follow Christ, but we become divided as our circumstances threaten our hearts and numb our brains. Over and over again we are drawn towards the problems we have.
If we keep focusing on the issues we face, eventually we will give up. Especially if these things are ongoing or so big that we can’t see any way out.
Here is the good news. Jesus provides a way out. There is an old saying that goes something like this: “Sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms the man in the storm.” I think it is by Wayne Watson. Either Jesus picks you up and puts you on solid ground, or he gives you the strength and courage to get through your toughest problems.
So the next time you’re in an awkward spot or in a bad way, look beyond the problem to Jesus. Keep going because your show must go on.
And please keep your pants on.
Andy Becker is lead of Lighthouse Ministries which brings God’s love and presence to the North Central area of Regina, Canada. He is also a writer, public speaker, former counselor, and former Executive Director of a Hospice.