I was recently speaking at a conference in Chicago to young girls who had faced some sort of trauma or hardship. No greater joy for me, then to go and encourage young people with the truth of the gospel and the comfort of Christ’s hope. It is a reminder that there is always purpose in pain. A reassuring truth that God uses all things (the good and the bad) for His good and purpose, when we are willing to yield those things to Him.
After sharing with the girls I gave an invitation for anyone who wanted to receive Christ. It was a very emotional moment in the event and I could see that many girls were touched by the days events. As I asked the girls to close there eyes and told them if anyone wanted to receive Christ to raise their hand, a few hands went up. Typically, I would stop it there and lead them in a prayer but I felt strongly that there was a battle going on and that God wasn’t finished moving. I closed my eyes and just started sharing from my heart and told the girls that if they wanted to come forward I would lead them in a prayer.
It is a powerful statement one can physically make to get out of your seat and come publicly to received Christ. Far too often, fear can cripples our feet and we choose to sit comfortably in our chairs. God hears your prayers wherever you call to Him, but if you want to have an effect as a Christian, we must learn to love and live without reservations in our relationship with Him. That starts with a willingness to stand before the world of unknowns and say out loud, I am not ashamed, I am willing to vocally vow to live a changed life in Christ.
As I continued to pray for these girls to come forward, I wasn’t thinking about numbers or the pride one might struggle with, thinking it was by any merit of their own one would respond to the call. Instead, I was pleading before the Lord for victory in their life; I wanted so desperately for them to see that because of Jesus’ miracle that was wrapped in a tragedy, He made a way for them. These girls would no longer need be robbed of the lie that their life didn’t matter. They could be set free by the freeing savior.
When my eyes opened I could no longer speak words, tears streamed my face; I was a witness of the power God has to save. The front of the stage and aisles were crowded with young girls, ready to yield their lives to Christ. Their faces wet with tears that spoke of hurt and pain. Hope had set them free that day, eternal hope, it wiped their tears and reminded them they were bought with a price. Only one could pay the dowry, Jesus!
You would think after an experience like this, I would be smiling for weeks. It wasn’t the case though, I had such a heavy heart and felt weighed down. There wasn’t a specific reason why I felt this way. Life had been pretty normal. A few bumps on the horizon, but nothing major, so why this feeling? I found a scripture that seemed to speak to right where I was at.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” Ps.42:5
All I could do is ask myself, why? I was sharing with my friend about how I was feeling (a good thing to do). I said, “I always feel this way right after God does something huge or right before.” I thought because of the amazing things that took place in Chicago, maybe this was just what came with it. I was determined not to let this heaviness get at me. The second part of that scripture says, “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
I began to sense God telling me to hope in Him, keep my eyes on Him, be steadfast in Him, look to Him. Psalm 121:1, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.” In looking at the cross, it can make light the things of this earth. I clung to His word and just did my best to not focus on the emotions. I began to think that God was preparing me for something, what that was I wasn’t sure.
The Bible says, Col4:2-4 “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” I began doing this very thing, praying that if God was preparing a door, that he would prepare my heart as well. It is always worth it if God is in it. In the next week, I was about to be, yet again, blown away by the Lord.
We all know about the heart wrenching events that took place this week at the Boston Marathon. I work with a non profit called Friends of Bethany, created to reach victims of traumatic amputees. We have been praying for door to get scholarships to amputees. On the news I heard that there were ten (possibly more now), who had lost limbs due to the events that transpired. I put out a text to the board and said we had to do something. Never In a million years did any of us expect to see what God must have known all along.
In a matter of a day and a half we went from wanting to do something to clearly seeing God open the doors to bring a team to Boston. We sent out a email to Kauai companies to see if anyone could donate items to bring as gifts. Three suitcases and a large box later, we are still being given an abundance of items to take with us and bless those effected by the bombing. We are in the process of trying to raise $20000 to give to the amputee victims. In a day and a half, we are halfway there. We have had several families who have had a relative effected contact our organization. God has literally gone before us paving the way.
So now we respond, we take the steps of faith needed to go and love like Jesus loved. Be Christ to the hurting and broken world we are living in. I ask you to please cover us in prayer. Mike Coots, who lost his leg to a shark attack, Tom Hamilton, Bethany’s father and myself, will all be heading there this weekend. We ask that you pray God leads us to the people who need it and that we find favor wherever we go. We ask that those hurting can be touched and encouraged. If you would like to donate, you can do so at friendsofbethany.com. All donations will go directly to the victims.
Lastly, I want to encourage you, if you are feeling weighed down, weather you know why or not, look up. God has the ability to help us weather any storm. He is always your strength. Maybe, he is prepping you to be used in a powerful way. I will keep you all posted on what God does while in Boston.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; The Lord will your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.