Bill Johnson once said, “Faith is not the absence of doubt; it’s the presence of belief.” I had a wonderful opportunity to walk out faith this past Friday and to encourage others to have faith as well.
Lovinggood FCA was sponsoring our biggest outreach event of the year- Lovinggood on the Lawn. It is a huge carnival type setting planned with moonwalks, an obstacle course, face painting, a dunk tank, and food, food, and more food. We also had a silent auction, God’s Warriors (a weight lifting demonstration with testimonies), a youth pastor speaking, and a movie at dark. Needless to say, it was a BIG deal. For the past two years, we’ve had over 1000 people attend each time. We have been working on plans for this event and specifically praying for good weather since December of last year. We had done all we could do. It was up to God to deliver.
The weather at the beginning of the week had been beautiful. As the week drew closer to Friday, our event day, the forecast kept getting bleaker and bleaker. By Friday morning, it was overcast with predictions of clouds and 65% chance of rain. We were concerned to say the least.
As I gathered with our students that morning, I reminded the leaders if we pray the will of God, He will respond [1 John 5:14]. We wanted an opportunity to present the Gospel to people in our school and our community. We wanted them to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and have an intimate relationship with Him. We knew that according to John 3:16, our goal lined up with the will of God. I encouraged the leaders to keep the faith and trust in Him [Hebrews 11:1]. We spent time in prayer and then they went to class.
There were some last minute errands to run so the parent sponsors gathered together and hit the ground running. In the process of buying the last minute supplies and loading our vans, the bottom fell out of the sky. All the weather reports showed no sign of the rain storms stopping. We stopped what we were doing and prayed. Forgetting what our circumstances looked like and focusing on our God, we pressed on with plans to go ahead as scheduled.
When we arrived at the field to set up at 4 p.m., the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. The ground had dried up, even though it had rained hard for 2 hours solid. My husband called and said all the weather reports were changing. For reasons the weather forecasters couldn’t explain all of the storms seemed to dissipate the minute they hit the county line. We just laughed. It reminded me of God holding back the Egyptians while allowing the Israelites to flee [Exodus 14]. We managed to get everything set up for the evening in time for kick off at 6 p.m.
About 700 people turned out for the evening. Everyone was having a great time. God’s Warriors did their demonstration and shared their testimonies. Then we brought up the youth pastor, Kevin Queen, to share his message. At the end of his message, he offered the opportunity for people to receive Christ. There were approximately 25 people who prayed to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was awesome! Shortly after his message, we fired up the movie and began breaking down parts of the field while our guests sat back and enjoyed the movie.
About 15 minutes into the movie I received a phone call telling me we had a bad storm heading our way with 60 mph straight winds and hail. We had to stop the movie immediately and dismiss the crowd for their safety. Most of our guests left quickly and we were able to break down the field and clear it completely in 15 minutes. All of the students remaining went to the front of the school with our administrators for pick up as we loaded the last of our supplies.
As I was climbing in my van, a big rain drop splashed on my face. When I slammed the door, it was like Noah slamming the door to the ark [Genesis 7]. The skies opened up and the biggest downpour I’ve ever seen came crashing down on my windshield. God had held back the rain for His plan to go forth [Isaiah 14:27]. The Gospel had been presented and people were saved. It was almost as if He was saying, “It is finished!” and we didn’t need to do anything else [John 19:30].
I have to say, my faith grew that night, as well as the faith of all of our FCA leaders. Many of the people in our community are still talking about it this week. God is always and forever faithful to those who believe [Ephesians 1:18-21]. Will you believe?