I have a friend named Johanri. She lives in South Africa, and a few weeks ago she sent me a message that simply said 2 Chronicles 15:7. We hadn’t talked in a month or so, and she had no idea what was going on in my personal life. Therefore, she had no idea how much I needed to hear these words – “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
She had no idea that, as is my custom, I’d over-committed myself and was feeling helpless. She had no idea that my Mamaw had just passed away and that I deeply desired to stay at home with my family. That was practically begging God to let me give up; to let me drop my responsibilities and lay the blame on my circumstances. She had no idea that as I’d been seeking God’s direction, I kept feeling that I needed to keep going – to keep leading, to keep working, to keep believing that my work was not in vain. But I didn’t want to. I was doing it out of obedience and because I’ve been raised with importance on the idea of never, never giving up.
The Lord used Johanri, my sweet friend from across the world, to send me the exact encouragement I needed in His perfect timing. The verse was from 2 Chronicles 15, but in an effort to understand the verse in context, I read chapters 14, 15, and 16. I was struck as I realized the relevance of the words in my life.
King Asa was ruling over the land of Judah when he was feeling oppressed on every side. The prophet Azariah came to Asa and said, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” and later, the verse listed above – “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7
When Asa heard these words, he took courage, removed the idols rom his land, and repaired the altar of the Lord. Then he and his people “entered into a covenant to seek the Lord…with all their heart and soul.” (v.15) They rejoiced because of this oath and sought God eagerly, and he gave them rest on every side.
So, I thought, that’s what I’m going to do. As I oversee the Beat Hunger canned food drive and the IJM leadership team that’s planning Stand 4 Freedom, I’m going to take courage. I’m going to remove anything that’s about ME from the equation (pride, selfishness, personal gain), and recommit my efforts to the Lord. They are His anyway; I’m a fool if I don’t acknowledge that and return them to Him.
The hard work didn’t stop, but rest came on every side. As well as the favor of the Lord, which was unmerited…that’s GRACE.
The photos above are just a few from Stand 4 Freedom – a 27 hours standing vigil put on by International Justice Mission: App State. Hundreds of students were made aware of modern-day slavery for the first time, hundreds more came to take a stand, and still hundreds more signed advocacy cards to let our government know that slavery is something we care about.
In the post prior to this one, you can see the video we created for the Beat Hunger canned food drive. As of today, we’ve raised over 6,700 pounds of food and over $400 in cash to donate to the Watauga Hunger and Health Coalition.
It’s always funny (?) to look back on things I worked so hard for, only to realize that they finally come together when I get totally helpless and surrender them to the Lord.