Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: At the Scent of Water
By Robyn Burke
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Abraham saw God. So did Moses and Isaiah. Jacob wrestled with Him, Adam walked with Him, Amos, among others, had visions of God. Scores of people heard His voice. The Angel of the Lord appeared to many, including a donkey. And each of them knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they had been in the presence of the LORD Almighty. They had seen the glory of the Lord. Wow!
For over a year, some of us had been meeting weekly to pray for the future of our little church. After almost 120 years in existence, we were close to extinction. Only a handful of congregants remained, most of them well passed sixty. Closing the doors seemed imminent, yet pride and stubbornness refused to let us go there.
This night’s prayer time was attended by only my husband and me. We prayed fervently that night, asking for direction and wisdom. At the end of our time, I picked up a pew bible and flipped it open at random. I know this doesn’t always yield results but the Spirit moves as He wishes.
From the fourteenth chapter of Job my eyes fell on verse seven; “If a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again and grow new branches. Thought its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it may bud and sprout again like a new seedling.” (NLT)
I read it aloud, trembling as I did. A chill of excitement ran up and down my spine and I thought, “This is how it feels when you know for certain the Lord is speaking to you!” My husband concurred.
While the verse resonated with us, what this meant in terms of hope for our church, was unknown. We trusted that the Counselor would reveal it in time.
That was in January. At the first of March, key players in our congregation, including our pastor, met with like-members from a church that was growing exponentially in our area. While our church was floundering, theirs was on the rise. Passionate about Jesus and reaching the lost, in nine years, they had expanded their campus from one to three. At our request, we were meeting to brainstorm about ways we might partner together to accomplish much for the Kingdom.
With in two weeks the wheels were being set in motion for them to lease our building and launch another campus. They would be able to do what the weak and weary in our church could not. Spiritually, financially, technically, they were strong. They had already longed to establish a church in our community; our invitation was the catalyst for making the dream a reality.
On Sunday, after worship, as we discussed the dramatic changes coming, our traditional and fearful congregation listed concerns and objections along with proclamations of hope. It was a highly charged emotional time. While I listened, the Spirit reminded me of the verse from Job. I reached for my bible and paged.
As another member spoke in favor of the change, pointing out that sharing the building could potentially give our own church new life, I truly understood why I had been given this verse. The “wow” moment was back.
I stood and read the verse aloud to my church family. A few nodded as they grasped the significance. After a few more moments of discussion, it was generally understood that transformation was coming. Everyone was on board. I sat back in my pew and inhaled deeply.
The scent of water was close.
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