Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Overwhelmed



 
My wife and I returned from our mission to the Dominican Republic late Saturday night. We made it to church on time on Sunday morning, but something odd began happening before we finished singing the first song.

As I sang “Hail to the King,” my eyes began to burn and tingle. By the end of the song, tears were running down my cheeks. I looked over at my wife and the same thing was happening to her.

The second song was “We Believe” by The Newsboys. When we got to the line “Let the church live loud,” I needed a tissue.

Several, in fact.

The pastor, knowing that we had just returned from the mission, asked us to come up and explain our tears.

We tried, but all we could really say was that we were overwhelmed.

With tears falling on the pages of Ephesians 3, I tried to explain to the congregation by reading this:

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (NLT)

What had happened in the Dominican Republic is that my wife and I had gotten a glimpse, an inkling, a taste of just how immense, how majestic, how immeasurable, how beyond awesome is the love of God.

Even now, I struggle with trying to find the words to describe it to you, so I’ll give you a few examples.

We attended a service at the Altar of God Church at about 5:00 p.m. on our second full day. (Some Dominicans hold their weekly church services on Sunday evening, rather than Sunday mornings.)

The church service itself embodied the word “zeal.” I can say with great confidence that no one falls asleep during a service at that church—even though it lasts for about three hours.

The woman asked to preach spoke about 1 Kings 17:8-24 where the flour and oil never ran out and Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead.  She preached with a fire of the Holy Spirit that was relentless, adamant, and powerful.

During her sermon, she mentioned that her two-year-old daughter was ill and had not eaten in two days.

After the service, we prayed that Jesus would touch this child and heal her. Little Katy was obviously pale and weak at the time.

We went back to the pastor’s house where we were staying and, before we had finished supper, a happy, bouncy Katy was in the kitchen healed by Jesus and asking for something to eat.

Later in the week, we were in the small mountain village of Manabao, helping with a children’s ministry and eight children accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The next day, in the same church in Manabao, I was miraculously not only able to sing, but was asked to lead others in singing! (Anyone who has ever heard me sing knows this is indeed a miracle.)

Numerous times, the Lord put people and events in our lives that made it clear He was opening doors for us to tell others about His infinite love for them. This happened again and again, even on the flights to and from our destination.

In one case, I was sitting next to a man on the plane who was the administrator of a number of dental clinics for the poor. He had it on his heart to start dental ministries for the poor in other countries, but he had never met an “ordinary person” who was going on a mission and didn’t think it was possible for him to do so. I encouraged him by telling him if I could do it, he certainly could. I am certain if the Lord wants to extend His mercy through this man’s talents, He will most certainly do so.

All through the week, we could tell the prayers of those who had sent us were reaching God. The prayers of one woman were being emailed to us. Over and over, we saw themes, words, and phrases that appeared in her prayers in our lives and our ministry. Even lyrics of the songs that were on our hearts were in her prayers, though she had no way of knowing we were singing them repeatedly.

One of those songs was “Multiplied” by Needtobreath.

Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied.

And that was the most amazing part. The love of Jesus surely did come find us and it did not add to itself—it multiplied. These were not coincidences. They were God incidences.

The love of God in our Dominican hosts fed us and filled us. It was present and palpable. We could hear it and see it and feel it and taste it and we could reach out and touch it.  

Today, there are dozens of people in my life whom I genuinely love that I did not even know two weeks ago. I already miss them and long for them.

I went to the Dominican Republic to bring whatever I could, but I returned overwhelmed and overflowing.

Today’s Praise

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38 NIV)

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