Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Cry of the Weak To the God of All Strength

Yesterday was our Cities4Life Volunteer Picnic. To my surprise, I was called up during the worship time so the board of directors could pray over me in my new "calling" as Volunteer Coordinator. I have never been prayed over by a group of godly people. It was incredibly moving and powerful.

I love what I do for Cities4Life. Being a volunteer for the past three and a half years on the sidewalks of the abortion center is the most rewarding work I have ever done, but it has come with a price. What happens out there is immense spiritual warfare -- the forces of evil that would destroy innocent human life and label it a "choice" and a "right" are deceptive and powerful forces. Our God is more powerful, but I have never lost sight that it is a ferocious battle between darkness and light. No one can stand that close to evil day after day, year after year, and not feel the heat of the battle.

It has been a difficult three years in nearly every important earthly aspect. YET, it has inexplicably and simultaneously been the three years where God has become the most important and closest presence in my life than He has ever been. I find myself describing it as the best three years of my life, and then wondering on what planet anyone would describe it as BEST. I won't share all the struggles over the past three years, but it is odd that my first thoughts about those years should be filled with wonder and joy.

"When you pass through the waters, I am with you," God promises us in Isaiah 43. No matter what floods overwhelm us or what desperate circumstances we are in, when we follow God, He does not abandon us.

However, sometimes it feels like He has.

There were many times of utter darkness -- family struggles, financial distress, breast cancer, the dog of my heart dying, parents with health issues and having to leave their home of half a century. It was a terrible three years in terms of many earthly pleasures, hopes, and dreams.

YET,  during those times when I prayed with tears streaming down my cheeks and with a despair too deep to voice, I could almost feel God's hand on my shoulder. I could hear His voice whisper, "It's okay, Honey," like I used to tell my children when they were hurting. I didn't always believe Him...but it was okay. It is okay. Honestly, it is even better than okay. There is nothing more humbling and exalting than knowing you are doing what God has asked you to do...even when you seem to be failing and your world is crumbling.

On the sidewalks of the abortion center, despite all my pains and struggles and faltering words, women were choosing life...and even coming to the Lord. I held baby after baby saved from death by our ministry and each time, I experienced the incredulous, lavish, miraculous love of God anew.

Why God so often uses suffering to bring about His purpose I do not know. But I am certainly in good company. Jesus suffered a wretched torment and death to make our reconciliation with God possible. Knowing that He rose from the grave conquering evil in the most bizarre twist of all history gives me hope when the waters threaten to engulf me.

So when all those Godly people laid their hands on me, and an entire room prayed for me, my heart swelled with praise for the Savior who brought me to this place and this ministry. I kept thinking while they prayed, "I am so small, so fragile, so weak, Lord. I cannot do what you have called me to do, what they think I can do. But I can trust you to do what I am unable to accomplish, and so, here am I in all my weakness. Use me."
Isaiah 43:1-3
1But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

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