It is truly amazing to see what God has the capacity to do in people's lives. I've seen Him do so many things to transform people's lives that I shouldn't be surprised. But I confess that each new evidence of God's power and love is still a bit of a joyous surprise. Yesterday I was helping out with our church food distribution team. Our church body has teamed up with the Nazarene church that owns the building we worship in, and we partner with 2nd Harvest Food Bank to distribute food to those who are what 2nd Harvest define as "food insecure." You'd be blown away by the people who come for fresh fruit and produce. Most of the people are not homeless or obviously poor. Most are single parents or families who have cars and appear to have their act together, but are food insecure - meaning they have a car, they have some income, and their income keeps a roof over their head but their food budget is very small with hardly any room for fresh fruit and produce. Since we started distributing food the line has grown longer and longer and today we hit our current record of 50 families being served food. We now have the very good problem of need 2nd Harvest to give us more food.
While we were serving food, one member of our team said to me "Pastor Andy we need to pray for Missy" (not her real name). Missy is this wonderful Latino a woman from the community who is not a member at either church who helps us serve other families and in return receives food to feed here large family. Missy works hard, and is faithful to this work every time we meet. Yesterday Missy was suffering from severe sciatic pain and yet was serving others in spite of her pain. So a few of us on the team laid hands on Missy in front of the food distribution truck, and in front of all the people receiving food. We prayed that God would immediately remove her pain and that in removing her pain in Jesus name that she would know how powerful God really was and how much God really loved her. After praying I said, "Missy, what are you feeling. " She smiled and said, "As you prayed I felt something in my back." I asked, "Was it like the sensation of warmth?" "Yes," she said and she began to stand up straight for the first time all morning. Then she said, "Wow, I can stand up and it really feels better." Then I asked, "On a scale of 1-10 how bad was your pain before we prayed?" She said, "Probably an 8 or 9." I asked, "What is it now?" She smiled and said, "Probably a 5 now." So we went right back to prayer and we thanked God for the reduction of pain and asked that He eradicate all of her pain. Here's the cool news. God sent Missy home yesterday without any pain, standing up straight, and walking normally! Even better, Missy went home knowing that she was loved by God!! Where she stands with Jesus I do not yet know, but I do know she went home knowing something more about how much God cares for her. Of course God's power and love does not show up like this every day, but it does show up in some way every day.