Thursday, April 3, 2014

On being sure

Several years ago, when a devotion I wrote about ministering in a women’s prison was going to be published in an international devotional magazine, I sensed God would have me pray for the funds so each of the 1500 women in the prison could have a copy of that issue.

I made contacts, but after several months with only a fraction of the money in, my faith wavered as I wondered if God would really provide. As the time to order the magazines neared, I decided to make one more announcement at church the Sunday before the order deadline, but I learned there was already a guest speaker that Sunday making a donation request for worldwide Bible distribution.

Thinking it inappropriate for me also to request donations that day, I surrendered the situation to God. “Lord, I believed you wanted to provide these magazines for the women in prison, but I have done all I can do. It’s in your hands.”

After the guest made his appeal, my husband Jerry, the pastor, surprised me when he mentioned that the devotional magazine I wrote for also had a worldwide ministry, as people in 100 countries would be praying for women in prison because of my devotion. Although touched by Jerry’s thoughtfulness, I had already let go of the matter.

Later after the service, the guest speaker approached me. “I’ve been in prison ministry for years as well, and want to pay half the cost of the magazines.”

I was stunned. So were others who overheard the conversation, and within minutes the rest of the money came in. The guest speaker also received a surprisingly generous contribution that day, as well.

God increased my faith as once more I experienced God’s incredible faithfulness. He provided in a way that I could never have dreamed. I’m praying I can increasingly live the truth found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Below is the text of the devotion that ran in the magazine.

Record My Lament
“Record my lament; list my tears on you scroll—are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8)
I’m in a group that volunteers to work with inmates in a maximum-security prison for women. One of the rules we’re constantly reminded of is this: Don’t take anything in the prison; don’t take anything out of the prison. We are not allowed to give the women a piece of gum, a pen, or even a note. They are not permitted to send anything outside the prison with us.
Every time we visit the prison, we spend a few minutes with the women who desire our prayers. We hold their hands and pray for them individually. Many of the women cry. A couple of months ago, during the prayer time, I happened to open my eyes and look down at my shoes. The toes of my shoes were dotted with the tears of the women for whom I had prayed. When I left that evening, I did take something with me: tearstains.
God has made a record of our tears and is touched by them. In the same way, every time I wear my tearstained shoes I am reminded to pray for the women who are incarcerated, asking for healing that comes from God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beverly, this message touched my heart so much. I am two weeks away from my last day at work, feeling certain that God has called me to devote myself fully to studying and writing. I wrestled with the decision because our finances are going to be very tight. Finally after much prayer, determined to step out in faith and trust God. Yesterday, we learned that a small extra income source had been cut out. Now I am sitting here wondering "what now God?" I am certain of His call, but less than certain about how we will make ends meet now. Thank you for speaking to my heart.

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