June 5, 2012

Why I Do This

The button on the radio clicks to the off position and the device drops into a cardboard box displaying the words "Great Controversy" across the side.
The plastic lunch container in my hand is playfully snatched by a friend offering to wash it for me.
I stop by the accounting table to help count 2935 dollars and track down an elusive $3.25 (found! As a stack of quarters in the head accountant's canvassing bag)
It's just another canvassing day.
Just another day when I got to watch one canvasser pray for another and see an instant answer; and a man drove up and down a neighborhood searching for the canvasser who just sold him two books-- he wants his $20 back, so that he can give $80 and buy 6 more books. People have been brought to tears by humble fervent prayers, and several have asked for someone to come study the bible with them in their own homes. Yep, just another canvassing day.
After 70 weeks of canvassing this feels so normal that I have to remind myself that these things are miracles. I have seen them so many times now. Yet I never tire of hearing them.
My phone alarm sounds the 2 minute warning for evening prayer time as accountant Liz and I scramble up the stairs just in time. I yell "PRAYER TIME" down the hallway and we gather on our knees.
Tonight we take a few moments to each share something the Lord has taught us during the past week and a half that we've been knocking doors in Dayton.
I catch myself listening with bated breath. These girls have no idea how much their hearts mean to me. I lay awake at night praying for their souls, pleading in tears for the Lord to win every individual battle. They come from backgrounds so diverse, and they represent at least 3 different ethnic cultures. Their interests are as widely different as a shopping mall is from a horse barn. Some are just making their first baby steps in spiritual growth while others demonstrate a tried and proven experience with Jesus deeper than my own. But each one means the world to me.
Two weeks ago I wondered if my heart had room for yet another group of girls... My love and emotions have been expended and poured out and drained for so many. Would there be enough left for this team? "To what purpose is this waste, Lord?" I found myself asking. "I feel like I'm drained dry."
"I wasted all too--- for you" He answered. "Waste your emotional energy for me. I will repay. Heaven's stores of love have never yet run dry."
Of course.. How could I forget? I'm just pouring out what He pours into me...Jesus pours out more than enough love.
And there is no more beautiful experience than to lie along that channel and get to have so much love passing through ones life.
As the girls share what the Master Educator has been teaching them this week I silently thrill to note specific answers to prayer. It's only the second week and already tense pained faces are relaxing into peaceful calm expressions revealing the work of the Spirit within. 
Still I wait in tense anticipation; what will she say?
She who knocked her first door together with me, who openly declared on that first street, "I want to go HOME! There is no way I'm going to live through 5 weeks of this." She whose clothing I have been forced to censor so many times, and whose attitude towards spiritual things has been apathetic at best. Would she say anything? Was the Spirit being allowed to work in her heart?
Her attitude has been softening and nearly every morning I catch a glimpse of her form in the hallway bowed over a bible in her lap.
She raises her hand and I call her name, hoping my voice doesn't betray my eagerness.
She tells us that God has been helping her to learn to pray for others. She has seen Him directly bless her when she prayed for others on the team instead of praying for God to please get her through the day or to help her get books out. 
Her eyes sparkle with an unaccustomed peace and joy and her voice is soft with a tone of hope I haven't heard before.
Her prayer this evening is spoken as conversation to a friend rather than the trite and cliche phrases often heard in the prayers of those who have grown up knowing truth without knowing the Man.
Her experience with Jesus is becoming real.
And unbidden tears pool in the underside of my eyelids. 
This is why I do this.
This is why I pray, and train and encourage, and endure the snotty attitude I get from some when I hold up and enforce the high standards set for these programs and why I live some days without my shower because there wasn't time for everything.
It's more than cheap enough. It's worth it all already just to see unhappy people becoming happy in Jesus. And we haven't even got to heaven yet! If this brings so much joy, I can hardly imagine what it will be like there.
This is the life.


  1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. May God give you all the wisdom and strength to live the life of Jesus before every one of those precious girls.

  2. Oh, so touching. So beautiful!