Towards the end of a tough trip, I was scheduled to minister at a small church on the East Coast of America. Even before I arrived, I was exhausted. I had been away for a while, so I was also feeling homesick.
As I walked up the path towards the church, I was greeted by a series of blank faces. When you arrive at a church where you are due to minister, you will usually be ushered into a side room to meet the leaders. No-one seemed to acknowledge our arrival.
I made my way into the auditorium. Feeling extremely awkward, I took a seat. Soon, the service started. After a few minutes, one of my team called me out of the worship. “They aren’t expecting you,” she explained, “They have another guest speaker booked.”
I stood in the foyer while phone calls were made to try and work out what happened. I felt like an uninvited guest that had been caught trying to get into a party without a ticket. I wished I could vanish. Eventually, I was called into an office and asked to take a seat.
The pastor who had invited me to preach had mistakenly booked another speaker on the same day! He asked if I would minister at the altar for twenty minutes after the preacher had finished. I was 5,000 miles away from home and I felt like a reject. I wanted to leave. However, because I know I am supposed to walk in humility and love, I agreed to stay.
God still wanted to minister to His people. I had an hour to get a healed heart and a simple word. As I sat in the pew listening to the preacher, I talked to my Father. “I feel like a complete fool, Lord. I am embarrassed and lonely. Heal my heart of this humiliation.”
Lamentations 2:19 says, “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.” It’s amazing how much it helps when we talk to the Lord about the issues of our hearts. After all, Jesus is our “Wonderful Counsellor”! (see Isaiah 9:6)
The healing love of the Lord filled my heart and my peace returned. I looked at the leaders in that place. They were dedicated and humble. I asked God to bless them. After the main speaker had finished, the pastor introduced me.
As I took the microphone, the anointing descended. Within moments, people were weeping right across the congregation. God moved in an amazing way, healing many hurting hearts. He did in twenty minutes what would normally have taken two hours.
But here’s the point: the humiliation hurt. If I had not been healed, I would probably have left offended. I may have given God a bad name and the purposes of the Lord would have been thwarted.
Humiliation is hard to admit because it feels so terrible. We would rather express offence or annoyance. But being honest with ourselves, and with God, paves the way for relief. When we are humiliated, we need to be real and we need to be healed.
This blog is an excerpt from The Many Faces Of Shame. Everyone has been hurt by shame in one way or another and since the Garden of Eden our instinct has been to cover up or hide. This book will help you deal with it and come out the other side strong.