Once, a number of years ago, my wife and I were visiting my family in Virginia. While there, we borrowed my dad’s truck and headed north to look at some belongings we kept in a storage facility we were planning to clear out. It was late at night and long since sundown when we were driving back to Virginia, roughly a three-to-four hour trip, made longer and slower by a rainstorm. We had crossed over the state lines and were officially in Virginia, on a long stretch of highway that was only two lanes. Traffic was stalled, and we were entirely unsure why—but after almost an hour of mostly sitting there and inching forward, we discovered that in the storm, a massive tree was struck by lightning and had fallen across the road.
Well, after having waited there for so long, none of us were willing to sit and do nothing until someone else came to rescue us. I and a number of other travelers began looking through the tools with us (I opened my dad’s truck box to see what tree-destroying goodies he had packed) and we began to dismantle the tree bit by bit. It was slow going, especially since no one had come prepared to cut a tree away from the road, but there were a good dozen or two of us either sawing and/or hacking or helping pull large pieces of brush away from the trunk once freed—all done by the yellow light of car headlamps.
The event itself was somewhat fun in spite of the setback, and even the wet shoes and clothes from being outside in the rain playing with tree limbs weren’t enough to kill the overall enjoyment in the midst of what was an otherwise frustrating situation. Truth be told, it just felt adventurous. Not only that, but the overall atmosphere and attitude of all involved was pretty positive. We all just pitched in to help out, working with total strangers as a team to reach a common goal, long before we had “sanctioned help” from the authorities.
Eventually the police did arrive and brought workers with them who began sawing up the main body of the trunk, and this time with the right tools. Even *while* they were clearing the road, they turned traffic away and sent them somewhere else. We found a back-road nearby and made an educated guess that it would take us where we wanted to go, since cell service was nonexistent at that location and using a GPS map was out of the question. Eventually we got around the roadblock and back on the highway.
Reflecting on that time, I couldn’t help but see this as a picture of many in the Body of Christ. At least in the Western Church, we have been taught this notion that many things are the job of “Big names” and “Ordained ministers” when in reality, even if those we view as authority figures in the Body don’t step up, we are still going to get the job done. Furthermore, even when the authority figures do get involved, usually pastors and other leaders, there tend to be a lot of restrictions on who is permitted to do what. The police were much like this when they came to manage the fallen tree. The rest of us were already working on getting the job done, and not only did they cast us aside, but they didn’t even let us remain on the road, knowing full well that a single lane would be cleared shortly.
There are a few different responses we can have to this type of event when it happens inside the Body of Christ. The first is to give up, get bitter, and decide to stop moving forward. The second is to give ourselves over to the authority figures, give up our vision, and join them with whatever they are doing, regardless of where we were headed previously. The third option is to simply continue on our journey, bypassing those who are supposed to be on our side but ultimately are setting themselves in opposition to us, and keep advancing anyway.
That’s not to say that all pastors or other leaders are bad. Many of them have been put in positions of influence due to the call of God on *their* lives, and are faithfully walking in what the Lord has called them to do. Nevertheless, they are just as human as we are, and prone to the same mistakes and oversights as anyone else. If you have felt passed-by or looked-over by those in positions of influence within the Church, don’t let that stop you from walking in all that God has intended for you. In the same way that we began to dismantle the tree without “official” approval, you too can begin to dismantle powers of darkness and release the light of Christ into your surroundings regardless of who is for or against you.
For those who haven’t read Gemstones From Heaven, I explain in the first chapter that many of the encounters in that book came from hosting meetings at our house. My wife and I didn’t need a stamp of approval from someone else; we simply opened our home, invited people, and let God do the rest. If you feel like God is calling you to step into something, I encourage you to pray for clarity, then walk boldly forward on the journey. It’s going to be exciting!