I’m going to start off by telling you about a family we served. This family went on the California retreat in August of 2018. The mama of this family passed away about 6 weeks ago. And a few weeks after she died, the dad texted this:
“Isn’t it hard for you to get to know so many people that end up passing away? And after asking you that, we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity it was to come out to Cali and spend time with you and everyone else. I was texting Jon [their volunteer] and told him when I get things settled and in a routine I wanted to volunteer and give back to some families. Jon, Olivia, you, Brian… you will be lifelong friends for us. The experience you provide is priceless.”
This is a dad sitting in his grief. Wrecked over losing his wife and the mom of his three children, and he’s thinking about how he can be back here sitting where you are right now, wanting to serve a family like his own. That blows my mind.
So, today I want to talk about the promises of God. As I’ve been studying the scriptures lately, the Lord has been calling to my attention the amount of times He says things like this: “I am the Lord, it will come to pass. I am the Lord, my word is firm. I am the Lord, I will do as I have said.” And usually, these come after He has given his plan and said what He was going to do, and then just has to remind his audience… I. AM. THE. LORD. If I said I was going to do something, I mean it.
So, I want to take you to one specific place in scripture where God makes a promise to a people. Exodus 14, the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. We just see the big “Pharaoh, let my people go moment,” and then Pharaoh changes his mind and decides he wants them back, so he starts pursuing them. The Israelites get to the Red Sea and say to Moses… Um, I think you made a big mistake. We could have just stayed in Egypt, we at least had food and water and no one was going to kill us. That would have been better than dying out here with Pharaoh’s army chasing us down. And Moses responds by telling them, ”The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still or silent.”
And God does. He does this huge miracle. Parts the seas and they walk through and He fights for them. They literally didn’t have to do anything. But, because the Lord promised He would do it, and all they had to do was walk, guess what? That is exactly what happens. They tighten up their belongings, put their little ones on their backs and start walking. AND GOD DOES THE WORK!
So, this is where I want to encourage you today. We are about to meet new families. We’ve been given a task, that seems kind of impossible. Give a family that has a terminal illness an unforgettable weekend. Take on all the jobs, so they have none. Take on all the stress so that they have none. Push a wheelchair through Magic Kingdom. (That in itself is a special kind of miracle.) Play with kids, hold their backpack, keep all the information we threw at you last night top of mind so that your family stays on schedule. All while wearing a smile and having endless amounts of energy. It feels like so much!!!
And for you new volunteers especially, you’re wondering how this will actually happen. Let me tell you… that He will fight for you. That He cares deeply about each one of these souls. That He wants to use you in a powerful way so that HE can do the big work. All we have to do is put one foot in front of the other. We aren’t running from captivity, so that’s where the illustration falls short, but we are about to take on someone else’s burden for a few days. And God promised the Israelites that He would do the hard work, He will fight for them. They just have to start walking.
So when a family texts me and says I don’t know how you do this, I don’t know how you get to know all these families that pass away and keep coming back… It’s because I trust that God has it. He fights for them. He fights for me. I trust His sovereignty. I trust that when He gives us the impossible task that He will also provide the way to walk in it.
Honestly you guys, that was one text. We have countless emails, letters, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages that all say the same thing: I want to come back and give back.
And I believe that is what He has called each of you to do as well. To walk with another’s burden, to trust Him! To trust that HIS plan is greater and that HIS will is secure. His promise is TRUE.
Heidi Benson is Inheritance of Hope’s Families Manager. She originally shared this devotional with the February 2020 Orlando Legacy Retreat® team. Read more Inheritance of Hope blogposts >>