Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3. Ol' Zeb the Gang Leader

You’ll appreciate being forewarned that Ol’ Zeb’s ways of giving comfort may be somewhat surprising to some, but always God-approved. Before each meeting began with prayer, Zeb would read the eyes of each of the youth from across the room. He had so much love for them he could read their hearts like one of those electronic heart monitoring machines they carry in an ambulance. The problem was that he almost never forgot the hurt, hate, confusion, and sometimes hunger he’d see in their eyes.
Zeb had long since retired with no outstanding skills that would put him in anybody’s spotlight. He had a medium sized silver mustache that could use a trim and was bald as a beach ball except for a narrow band of silver hair that wrapped around the back of his head from ear to ear.
Long ago he’d wrestled with God’s Spirit trying to get out of forming and leading the Comfort Corner. After all, he’d say, “I didn’t go any farther than the 9th grade and I sure don’t know about computers and all that kid stuff. But the old gentleman saw there was no getting out of it as the Spirit reminded him of his great love for children that are hurting and even more love for God’s exciting infallible scripture.
With the same level of energy Smokey and his firefighting pals sift through collapsed buildings on fire searching for people; Zeb searched God’s precious word for kid-sized promises, comfort, and His plans for them. Like a volcano about to erupt, Zeb told the Lord that from this moment forward there would be nothing more important to him and his heart than giving Mop Room Kid Comfort.
All heads were bowed and eyes closed as the kids heard Zeb almost beg God to give him the words to help bring comfort and order to the hearts of every young heart in the room. Even before the “Amen” was spoken the young people realized they were in an oasis bathed in calm and surrounded by mops and old boots. If any would ask themselves if they’d rather be anyplace else on Earth right now, all answers would be a definite, “NO.” The closing “Amen” was spoken and everyone quietly looked to see what the old gentleman would say first.
Without saying anything Zeb picked up his Bible that was next to him. With his left hand (that’s the one affected by the stroke) he struggled to move his hands across its cover, with a slow caressing motion. His eyes stared at the old book as though it was talking to him through his finger tips. Its pages were ragged and the cover looked as though it had been everywhere the old boots had been, and still ready to serve needed hearts.
Zeb looked at the children and then spoke, “Because some of you are first timers my first name is actually Zeb, but I want you each to call me Buddy. As you call me Buddy you’ll be reminding yourself that I want to be just that… your buddy. I’m extra good at just listening. I get skittish around computers and technical stuff and I’ve got hugs I haven’t used yet,” he said with a warm smile.

So, I’d like to start by telling you why we’re here. There are two answers. The 1st is that I just love telling kids like you lots of the fun stuff in God’s Precious Word here and the 2nd is that I like to give comfort… lasting comfort… where I can.” With a bit of a smile he pointed to the word “Comfort” on the old banner over his head.
He continued, “Now I can waste your time and mine trying to list all the places that don’t give comfort. But I’m sure most of you have already been making disappointing discoveries of promised peace that instead delivers nothing desired.” With slow gentle motion Zeb opened his old Bible to Romans 15:4.
Looking into each pair eyes he said, “I’ll tell you that you can take a flashlight into a submarine and go to the deepest part of the ocean. It’s called the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean and it’s over 7 miles straight down where no sunlight reaches and only a few brave men have ever gone. Now you won’t find any there. Or you could take a rocket ship and look behind every star. You won’t find any there either. The exciting thing about God is that He’s placed tons of it right here in His Word. It’s what we all desire each day of our lives… comfort and hope. Let me read the verse to you.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Next, Buddy chews on the 'comfort of the scriptures'.