Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. …
But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God and the everlasting King. Jeremiah 10:5, 10
Scarecrows are in the Bible! I just saw that this week!
Stuffed with straw and wearing crazy hats, these quirky characters called scarecrows are my favorite feature of fall. They might scare birds but that's what they are supposed to do because, well, they are scarecrows. But that is where their fierceness ends. In terms of real strength, they are terribly inadequate.
And in that case, they are a great word picture for those of us (that would be me, too) who can tend to get intimidated by things that are equally ridiculous.
How crazy is it to get dismayed or distracted by things or people when I have an open invitation to seek help in the throne room of Heaven! in comparison to God's power and might, every difficult earthy reality is just a scarecrow! Even as life unfolds with challenges and brokenness, the Lord brings repeated rescue. I can be confident of that.
Lately, He has been asking me, "Do I love you?"
To which I answer, "Yes. You do."
Then He repeats the question, "Do I love you, Becky?"
"Of course, I know You do, Lord."
Yet again, "Do you really believe that I love you?"
"Yes. I'm letting that sink in. I really believe that You do love me! You have proven it over and over again."
And that changes everything.
It is beyond amazing to have the true God, the living God, the everlasting King loving me, leading me, intervening for me! I know we have a shared desire for children all over the world to also grow up with that confidence: you are loved by our all-powerful God.
So, I'm asking God to use these friendly fall scarecrows to remind me to put my confidence in Someone substantial - my loving Heavenly Father. And I'd ask you to use these decorative "folks" as a reminder to pray for me along with the rest of the KidZ staff and training teams, and for the children who will be taught by the teachers we train. Oh, that these children will have the lifelong joy of knowing Him personally and loving Him completely!
Yes, scarecrows will be scarecrows.
That's all they can be. Though they are more decoration than defense, they certainly have their place, even without a corn field or crows. For one thing, they turn my attention to harvest, to bounty and to gratitude. As soon as I see one I begin to anticipate all things fall: family gatherings, sweaters, boots, pumpkin spice latte (yes, I'm one of those people), and turduchen (that's an upgrade on turkey, a special request from Dietz.)
This autumn season, I am grateful for:
- Faithful praying friends (picture a day when my brain is weary but I need to analyze input from regional leaders to plan a scope and sequence for future training)
- Faithful financial supporters (picture a day when I need to purchase printer ink and office supplies as well as plane tickets to attend the fall leadership retreat, then to extend my trip to connect with support partners)
- Faithful editing/writing partners (picture a day when it's time to review a workshop which gives teachers the study tools to understand ancient biblical culture)
- Faithful family and friends who share encounters with Jesus and stories of God's faithfulness (picture a day when I'm physically tired and spiritually wobbly)
In this season of bountiful provision for KidZ at Heart, I am anticipating:
- The process by all KidZ departments to finalizing the bi-annual Strategic Priorities which were discerned as a result of the Leadership Retreat last month. These are specific efforts to train, partner with, and mobilize networks of leaders to nurture the spiritual formation of children within their own culture.
- Passing the "Great Themes of Scripture" and the "5 Big Study Questions" Workshops I wrote along to the formatting team to be finalized as the first part of the Advanced Teacher Certificate.
- Travel with other staff members to Africa early in the new year when we will meet with Grace, our National Network Coordinator in Uganda, and our partners at Kampala Evangelical School of Theology. We will lead a KidZ Leadership Community Retreat (focused on discernment, strategic planning and spiritual formation), further train in-country licensed trainers, and work with the interdenominational network.
(KidZ at Heart develops National Training Networks around the world through three phases: Launch, Develop, and Self Sustaining. After partnering in Uganda since 2002, our partners are ready for the next phase, which will soon release a full KidZ ministry into the very capable hands of local leadership.)
Thank you for anticipating with us as we watch to see what God will do next!