Each week I go into the communities to share devotions and talk with the HBCs (Home Based Carers), CCWs (Community Care Workers), and Support Group leaders. Last week we were working through the first chapter in the book of 1 John. The reminder of the simplicity of the Gospel was so important. We talked about who God is, what He has accomplished, why it’s important, and how closely we should aim to follow Jesus. Alternatively, our main campus devotion is working through characters in scripture and on Friday day we worked through Luke 10:13-17. It was where the crippled woman entered the synagogue and Jesus delivered her from a spirit of infirmity. I have found that the more we work through scripture, the more we see it in day to day life. Here is just one example.
In one of our communities our support group leaders spend the morning distributing prescription medications in the lobby of the local library and are therefore unable to attend the regular devotions of the HBCs and the CCWs. They use the library because there is a security guard and in this community it can be quite dangerous to have any drugs or medication for distribution without security. Living Hope does this in partnership with the local clinic/hospital for people within the community. After the regular devotion I go over to the library to visit with Tracy and Janine to share some time and the devotion with these ladies. So much ministry happens here in the “in-between” moments. The people in the community (about 20-30 each morning) go and get medication for the week on a specific day of the week and although it is not seen as a specific support group, they share their lives and troubles with the ladies in the moments we have together. Many of the people that receive the medication are members of their support groups. There is a relational aspect to the distribution of medication that is not possible in a clinical environment as would be if they needed to get their medication in the clinic next door. This is a service that Living Hope does currently and it meets an important need in the community. So many little things happen in this time and they may seem little to some but there are big impact moments in this time where God meets with the hurting people in the community.
On Tuesday of last week I went to meet with Tracy and Janine as usual. As I walked in Ruth was sitting and talking with the ladies. Ruth is a client as well as a friend of the ladies with whom I work. Tracy got up, came over to me and quickly told me a little bit of her story while I was going in to the library to get a chair. When we went back over to talk with Ruth, it was obvious that although she would say there was nothing wrong, there was a weight to the way she was carrying herself. She was working in an unhealthy environment for her and it was consuming her to the point of sickness and to the detriment of her family. Tracy asked if I could pray for Ruth. We prayed together (Ruth, Tracy, Janine, and myself). As we prayed Tracy placed her hand upon Ruth’s shoulder. As we prayed, Tracy felt Ruth’s shoulders lift. When we finished praying, Ruth had a different face. She did not have the heaviness in her eyes and brow that she did when I arrived. Her tears were traded for a smile and a glimmer in her eye. She began talking about her boys and soccer and the excitement of them playing for a team that is impacting their lives. After Ruth left Tracy had amazing joy because she physically felt Ruth’s body be set free from this depressing and consuming burden and a spirit of peace replace it.
The woman in Luke 10 was suffering from a spirit of infirmity for 18 years. It says that she was hunched over and looking at the floor. She probably had grown accustomed to her condition and didn’t see that her situation was going to change. She went to the synagogue probably because it was her custom on the Sabbath. She didn’t necessarily go to the synagogue to be healed. Jesus saw the need in this woman which was far greater than what she went to the synagogue to experience.
Ruth came to the library to get medication. She came with one purpose and left with hope and a change in perspective. What she received was far greater than medication. She received healing; she received peace and understanding of what needed to be done. This week I went back to the library and Ruth was not there. Tracy and Janine were though. Tracy received a text from Ruth that morning that spoke of God’s faithfulness and that the situation she was in that was causing so much burden in her life was lifted. She said that from a week ago the weight that she had been carrying for so long and that had been causing her such strife was replaced with peace and assurance. The unhealthy work situation was resolved the next day and she was set free from the burden of her situation in order to pursue a job which provided better opportunity to provide for her boys. Tracy even today was still praising God that we were witness to this burden being lifted off a friend. We must pursue God in expectation that He is who He says He is, and that He does what He says He will do.
Both Tracy and Janine asked if I write all the things down that happen while I’m there with them. There have been moments like this nearly every week over these past few months there in the lobby of the library where God has been present and evident in tangible ways. God is moving within that community and it is a privilege to witness it. Sometimes when God is moving, the enemy does not like it and will do what he can to thwart that movement. (We have had those moments as well.) The Living God will not be held down. In the poverty and adversity, there is resilience and there is an expectation that God will be bigger than the circumstances and He will provide for every need. He can and will do immeasurably more than we can hope for or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) We must dream big because we have a big God. To quote Tracy, “That’s the God I serve! That’s my Jesus! Hallelujah!”