One day that night will just become YWAM Bethlehem myth. Even now, it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction, lies from truth. Did one of our staff members really slap our leader with a slice of pepperoni pizza? There are only a few eyewitnesses who can retell the story with any accuracy. I’ll leave them to divulge the details. All I can say for certain is, even though I was not the one who got pizza slapped, that is the best way to describe how I’ve felt during my leaders internship.
Countryside walks have become a bit of a norm for me in the past three months. I’m spoiled to live in a neighbourhood with paths straight out of Pride and Prejudice and Narnia. On one such walk on said paths, I complained to God about how I needed money for a plane ticket. I need you to fulfil your promises to me, this is hard! Instead of a gentle, comforting caress– well, His response was more like a pizza slap. Shocking, humbling, with a little sauce left over.
What about the things you said you’d do for me?
See, there were plenty of things I’d told God I wanted to do for support raising. One project I’d even been given the money for but I hadn’t even started it. I knew God wasn’t telling me I had to earn His provision, that was clear. He wanted to provide for me! However, like a good dad, He was pushing me to greater responsibility– by reminding me that He wanted me to do what I told Him I would do. He wanted me to be faithful.
Lately I’ve been delving into the Psalms (which, as a result, I think it’s we should all camp for years on end). There are countless of promises God makes to His people. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10, ESV) is one such vow to us. I can smell the pepperoni and melted cheese! Yet instead of going in my mouth, what has slapped me is how much the Psalmists also refers to the promises we make to God:
- Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, (50:14)
- So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day. (61:8)
- Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them (76:11)
Yes, we talk about obedience a lot. In essence, me procrastinating in my support raising was disobedience. But… not completely. Obedience stems from an external order, even if it’s something we feel God ask of us internally. On the other hand, there are things that we commit before God, that He’s not necessarily ordering us to do. For example– during this internship I’ve committed to be apart of Him joining the two nations of New Zealand and Australia together, going to conferences and keeping up relationships there. This promise didn’t flow out of a command, but rather a response to what I’ve seen God doing and the uncanny passion He’s put in my heart for both places.
If I ignore it? I’m not necessarily disobeying an order, but instead, breaking a promise that I made to someone I love.
Isn’t that far more heart-wrenching?
Well, that’s the thing with a pizza slap. It shocks you, humbles you, leaves a little sauce on your face– but then you actually get to eat it. Although, with the aforementioned situation regarding a real-life pizza slap, eyewitnesses state that the actual piece was not consumed by the victim. However, with conviction from God, we really do get to consume it and be satisfied. That night, I simply started the rough sketches of my project– and the next day someone in our van seat in front of me offered to pay for my whole airplane ticket to Australia.
I’m still learning to perform my vows to God, “day after day”– it’s not a one time thing! But what I’m also realising is, much like a parent helping pay for their own birthday present from their toddler– our Heavenly Father loves to help us complete the things we said we’d do for Him. And even when we fail? “If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13, ESV). He’s steadfast.
So, that night may just become myth– the stuff of YWAM Bethlehem legend. Was it even pepperoni? Was it Pizza Hut or Dominoes pizza? Who even got slapped, and whose idea was it? DTS students will hear their leaders claiming, I was at that table! and they’ll laugh at them like a fisherman’s tall tale.
But as an eyewitness myself, I can always claim that God is the best pizza-slapper of them all–and I’m still wiping the sauce off my face. 🙂