I thought I'd share a story that reminded me of what God's doing in our church.
In Jim Cymbala's latest book, "Storm," he includes a chapter in which a woman named Avril shares her testimony. In summary, when her 3 month old baby girl died (SIDS) she called out to a God who she had a sense of but had never known. She promised God she'd take her two other kids to church if God would just take her baby to heaven. God told her, "she's already here," so she took her kids to church. From there she began following and serving the Lord, but ended up in homelessness, husband left, couch surfing, and then eventually women's shelter. As she continued seeking the Lord she eventually got an apartment and was hired on at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. She still had no money and relied on things people donated to her. As she got stuff beyond what she needed she began passing on to other people through "blessing fellowships." She'd invite people over to dinner then allow them to "shop" through items she neatly laid out as if in a boutique. She continued serving God in this way, feeling called to people who were in a place she had experienced, and God began growing and growing her ministry.
Here are a couple excerpts she wrote I found really powerful and reminded me of what God's done for us:
"Everything continued to grow. I found unused storage space at the church and claimed it as a place to temporarily hold the things I was accumulating. The church also allowed me to use its vans when making especially large deliveries. One day a sister from church called and said, 'I have a freezer I'm getting rid of. It's in really great condition. Can I donate that?' 'Let me get back to you,' I said. No one had ever asked us for a freezer, and we really didn't have a place to store it. I needed time to think about it. Just two days later, a young mom with a bunch of kids called and wanted to know if I had a freezer! 'It would really help us keep our food costs down if we could buy it in bulk and freeze it,' she said. So no one had ever asked for a freezer, but as soon as one was offered, it was matched with a need. This kind of thing happened frequently. God was faithful." (p. 53)
"It was if God multiplied everything and I couldn't get rid of the stuff fast enough. The more I gave away, the more people gave me. I couldn't outgive God." (p. 53)
She continued to describe her complete inadequacy to fulfill the ministry herself. Every need she had, she presented to the Lord. And every time He took care of it.
I hope this is encouraging to you as it was me. We are not alone in these darkening times. God's faithful continue to serve Him and declare His name across the earth. He knows his faithful servants, provides for them, and brings them into intimate and miraculous life with Him. Doesn't matter, man, woman, young, old, Black, White, poor, wealthy. We all have an opportunity to have this if we fully surrender all we are and have to Him. What an amazing trade off. Thank you merciful Father.
Be blessed today,