I was just about to leave when I saw him.
It was his T-shirt that caught my attention. The breast pocket boasted a logo with the letters “S.W.A.T.” underneath it. I said to myself, “How neat...he’s got a real S.W.A.T. shirt.”
I noticed the shirt because as I write this, I am two days away from my own SWAT adventure. To be more precise, it’s “Agents of S.W.A.T.” and it’s an original Vacation Bible School curriculum I have written. I am responsible for its skits and the coordinating Bible stories.
As I continued walking out of the gym, I turned to check out the other side of the guy’s shirt as I passed. It read “S.W.A.T.” in large letters across the upper back. Then I read what was written under it in small letters...”Spiritual Weapons & Armor Training.”
Hey, wait a minute...that can’t be...that’s my shirt...Well, that’s my VBS. I looked again. Yeah. I read it right. Except it wasn’t the 2017 VBS I’m over my head in. The T-shirt was from a 2009 children’s church curriculum my husband Keith and I produced at Trinity UMC in Conway. But how did this guy, who looked to be in his 20s or so, get a shirt?
I began sneaking around him, trying to use my phone to get pictures without him noticing and believing I’m a stalker. Mission accomplished. I decided to hang out a bit longer so I got some dumbbells and took the bench beside him. As I contemplated how to approach the question of where he got his shirt, I decided a compliment might be in order.
“I like your shirt,” I tell him.
He looks around, a bit confused, wondering if he is being spoken to and who is doing the speaking.
“I like your shirt,” I say once more.
He nods. I think.
“Ah...where did you get it, if you don’t mind my asking,” I add.
“Ah...I got it a long time ago...I don’t remember...I think it was at Trinity,” he manages to come up with.
I realize he isn’t interested in having a conversation. I compliment his choice of apparel again and let him be.
This must seem trivial. As I write this, I wonder if I’m making a big deal over nothing. But I know I am not. God is the grand Engineer and the things which seem coincidental are not. They are Him...His confirmation, and dare I say, downright affirmation. Not so much in the material produced but in the faithfulness to produce it.
I am challenged frequently with keeping my focus on making disciples and putting my pen to paper. You see, that is where I have been given a mission. But oh...It. Is. Hard. I am so easily distracted.
So my small encounter early this morning with a guy in a familiar T-shirt was a big encounter with the God of the universe...sweetly and tenderly assuring me that small things matter. Consistency matters. Obedience matters. Surrender to His design matters.
Keith and I have taken our SWAT inspiration from several years ago and expanded it. It’s been a long time in the recesses of our minds, but now it is in print and online.
Can I persuade you to join me on an “Agents of S.W.A.T.” VBS adventure? Spiritual Weapons & Armor Training begins Sunday, July 16, at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Union United in Conway. Keith has a new and improved logo. We are desert sand instead of police black on this go around.
Every child even gets a S.W.A.T. emblazoned T-shirt. I am excited to see when and where they will turn up.