As Nannygranne served up refreshments to the teens for MTC night (Movies that Count), she couldn’t help overhear the conversation across the counter from her.
“Did you hear what happened at Becky’s church?” Aiden said in a hushed tone which always draws attention.
“No. What happened?” Kayla said without looking up from selecting chips.
“Their youth minister had an affair with the church secretary, and they ran off together!”
“How could they do that!!” Kayla asked Aiden in a whispered rage. Turning to Nannygranne, knowing she’d heard, too, she repeated, “How could they do that!”
Nannygranne handed her a BBQ sandwich and asked, “How could who do what?” She hated to admit she’d overheard but was grateful to have a moment to whisper a prayer for guidance.
“How could a guy like that run out on his family and congregation? How can they spend that much time with God and do such a thing?”
Nannygranne realized all eyes had turned their way. “Well, it’s not the first time one of God’s people have done such a thing. But I’d like to talk more about it and hear your thoughts if you’d let me sit with you to eat.”
“Sure! We’ll get a table. Thanks!” With that, four or five teenagers moved on while Nannygranne served the others, praying constantly. This type of issue crushes expectations of young people and adults alike. For those close to the situation, it can be devastatingly disillusioning.
The kids waved their older friend to the table. They’d been deep in conversation and were ready with questions.
“So, Nannygranne, how can that happen to a preacher – and right in a church building, too!”
“Yeah, I thought if you are a Christian and stay in church and stay friends with other Christians, stuff like this won’t get to you.”
“I thought if the Holy Spirit lives in you that you wouldn’t want to do bad things.”
“Yeah. My friend Becky called me and she was crying and said their whole church was torn up about it. She said it was awful!”
Nannygranne shook her head. “Wow, you guys. This is a tough thing for even adults to handle. I can’t imagine how heartbroken your friend Becky must be.”
“I don’t know, Mrs. N,” Aiden said. “It’s scary in a way. I’ve been thinking about going to Bible college and becoming a minister, but now that doesn’t seem so safe.”
“So, Aiden, you’re worried that Christianity is just a gamble with no guarantees?” Nannygranne hoped to tap into the heart of their fears.
“Yeah! It kind of makes you feel like you can’t be sure of anything ever!” Kayla admitted.
“You’ve heard the old saying that nothing is sure except death and taxes?” Nannygranne offered. Blank stares told her she’d used too old a saying. “Never mind. I don’t mean to suggest that it’s not important whether we are certain or not. God knows it is important. But He’s the only 100% certainty in existence. He’s God. We are not. And that’s where the problem begins.”1
“What do you mean by ‘that’s where the problem begins?'” asked Aiden as he leaned forward.
“Well, God is God and we are not. We are human, naturally self-serving, and influenced by Satan in this life. God is unintimidated and cannot be tempted by Satan but that’s not true of you and me. That’s why we need to be always moving closer and closer to God every day of our lives. It’s a long road to becoming more and more like God.”
Kimberly spoke up. “But a preacher studies the Bible all the time and doesn’t have to be around worldly people like the rest of us. How can somebody like that get so far from God that he lets everybody in the world down!” Her question revealed pain, maybe from some past experience.
Nannygranne began, “I know you guys have heard of King David and his affair with Bathsheba.” All heads nodded, encouraging her to go on. “Well, David, a man chosen by God, was described as ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ But not only did David give in to his lust, he also plotted to have one of his most loyal soldiers abandoned on the battlefield and killed. Amazingly, David became so distracted from God’s heart that he didn’t even recognize he’d done such a horrible thing. Then when his wise friend, Nathan the prophet, came to him with a riddle that exposed David’s deed, he finally felt guilty.”2
“Yeah, but David wasn’t a prophet like Nathan. He was a warrior and a politician and busy with other things. How can a preacher get so messed up!”
“Do you guys think that because a man is a preacher that his body changes and that he no longer feels and struggles with the thoughts and feelings natural to any healthy man?” When Nannygranne said that, the boys instantly knew what she was saying. “And girls, do you think that just because a man is a preacher that he stops being handsome or kind, considerate and attentive, and no woman would be attracted to him?”
The teens looked at one another with even more miserable expressions. This line of thought did not make them feel safer as Christians.
Nannygranne added gently, “And don’t you think that the God who made us understands all those things about us? And since He does, gives us help and information to deal with being human and being a Christian at the same time?”
Aiden spoke up for the others. “I guess God does understand. But we don’t know what those things are that help or why they didn’t work for Becky’s preacher.”
“Well, I’m a few years down the road, you guys, and I wish I could tell you that I’d never heard of this happening before, but I have. And some of those times, it involved people very near and dear to me. I’ve had to wrestle with this, too.”
Glancing at the clock, she knew her time was short. “I think the movie’s about to start so I’d like to write a letter and send it to you guys with that information. You could hang on to it or share it with friends. Trust me, as long as humans preach or even become Christians, you’ll need God’s help to get you through. And even more important, you are each human and Christian. Never underestimate the war for your soul. Satan never gives up for long, but God is there for you as Christian ministers, mothers, fathers, teachers, husbands, and wives.”
“Alright, thanks, Nannygranne.”
“You’re welcome. It’s something we all need to keep close. Satan will never give up, and neither can we. But Jesus said, ‘Take heart, I have overcome the world.'”
…to be continued.
1 Psa 103:14 He knows what we are made of; he realizes we are made of clay.
2Story of David and Bathsheba – II Samuel 11, I Kings 1