10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV.
I came THIS CLOSE to quitting my job this afternoon. I had enough. How crazy must I be to put up with this kind of abuse from a bunch of disrespectful punks for barely any money?! I even commiserated with a co-worker about the extremely bad attitude of one particular youth. My cohort pronounced a prayer-type blessing over me and sent me on my way back into the fray.
Back in the cottage, one of the girls asked if we were going to church. I honestly didn’t think we would be able to go. But she got enough of her housemates to go to keep us in ratio, got the supervisor’s approval, and away we went (all a small miracle in itself considering the opposition).
When we got to the church, I was initially a bit concerned as the leaders talked about the youth group’s upcoming beach camp this weekend, which in no way involved these girls. Then they played a game which was much easier for those kids who grew up going to Sunday School and VBS. I felt the gap widening between the “church” kids and the “group home” girls. Next was sharing time in small groups. “Name your favorite Bible character and tell why it’s your favorite.” Seriously? (Sidenote: That would be like someone telling me to name my favorite Harry Potter character and why… in front of a group of my peers who WORSHIP Harry Potter. I am aware there is a series of books and films about a magician named Harry Potter. I’ve seen bits and pieces of movies as they’ve been part of other activities and I think I started reading the first book. But I’ve never actually read all of any of the books.) This was awkward!
But then the unexpected started to happen. The leaders opened God’s Word and read the scripture lesson for the night:
5-6It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7-10This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? ~~~James 3:5-12, The Message
Now if there is any Scripture a group of teenage girls who live together can relate to, it’s one talking about “harmony turned to chaos” by people running their mouths. Their interest piqued, the speaker then told a funny personal story about poop (yes, actual poop) to introduce his message. It was hilariously, laugh-out-loud funny. The girls were hooked. Thus began a message, unfolding the above scripture as well as several others, that spoke on the power of our words to plant death or life into ourselves and the world. I needed to hear this message. It spoke to my heart.
Turns out the girls felt the same way. They talked about it all the way back to the cottage. They decided they wanted to take action and make some changes in how they related to one another. They wanted to share the message with the other girls in the cottage. Although some of them don’t know what they believe about God yet, they believed this passage of His Word. The entire atmosphere of the cottage changed because their attitudes had changed. I’m pretty sure the Spirit of Jesus was there. As the girls shared what they learned with their housemates, other questions about God came up and a dialogue of love was started.
I am still in awe of what happened. And pumped! This is just like God! Miracles happen when the situation is desperate and the circumstances are dire. Great things happening when there was no hope left in the natural means the Supernatural has intervened. I went from being empty and utterly discouraged, to being filled with joy and hope as a result. I got to see Jesus Christ change hearts, minds, and attitudes through the power of His Word. I got to see and experience an awesome miracle.
How have you seen God at work lately?