As soon as I stepped foot in church today there was an electrical charge. I recognized it as the signal that the Holy Spirit is on the move. “Stop. Listen. Pay attention.” He whispered. “I am here. I am moving, watch and see.” The first words out of the mouths of the men’s chorus caused goose bumps up and down my arms. My heart beat faster and warmth spread over my face. I have learned to pay attention when this happens. Basking in the Glory of God is one of my favorite past times. There was power this morning. A male choir, fresh from a men’s conference was worshiping with all their hearts. Caught up in the moment, I lifted my voice to join theirs. When God’s presence is tangible I allow him to envelop and carry me. I wait and listen for his message to my heart.
The worship was glorious, but God’s message for me was not in the worship. The topic of today’s sermon was humility, based on Philippians 2, one of my favorite passages. But today God’s message for me was not in the sermon. No today, God moved in my heart during baptism. Tears were in my eyes as I watched a former student rise to newness of life. The water rushing over her to show a recent commitment to the Lord was like a balm to my soul.
You see, this student is not a church goer. She has had a rough road, an unbelievable road. While I taught her a couple of years ago my heart ached. I could see her need for the Lord each day. But I teach in a public school, so sharing my faith was not an option. As with all of my students I try to reach out and show the love of the Lord in my actions, but there are situations where that doesn’t seem to be enough. This was one of those. I had to pray to ask God to give me his love for this child. Her attitude was not easy, her wounds festered anger just beneath the surface which regularly bubbled up in contempt towards others…especially teachers. Yet God placed her in my classroom. So I prayed to see her with his eyes. Over time God was able to soften my heart towards her, and in the process he softened her heart towards me. I tried to teach her how to get along with others, as well as how to read and write. We forged a relationship that was strained at times, and productive at others. In the end, I was saddened when it was time to send her on. I was attached by the bond of prayer.
Soon I saw her at our church. I was in disbelief when I began to see her every week. She always had a hug for me and I had a smile for her. I found out that a woman in our church had taken the girl under her wing. This was not an easy task. People at church did not welcome her. While I was ecstatic that God had brought her here others were not so much. But the woman did not give up on the girl or the church. She continued to show her the love of Christ, until one day, the little girl recognized her need for a savior. She told the pastor, “I am lost. I need Jesus.” When he asked for her family to stand before she was baptized there was no one there for her. There were a few of us that happily stood to our feet to welcome our sister in Christ. Teachers, mentors and others that had met her on occasion and it was an honor.
The message for me today? God spoke to my heart and affirmed what I do. It is my ministry to be in the public schools for girls like this one. He showed me clearly how he works even when my tongue is tied by laws. He is soooo much bigger than the government. He gave me his eyes to see how he is using my life in the midst of the world around me. Even as I plant seeds of prayer for my students, he will reap them in his time and in his way. I cannot stop him…neither can the schools…or the church. The fields are ripe for the harvest. The message is that he is moving with life changing, Holy Spirit power…watch and see what he will do.