I hate it when I get soppy while speaking to a women’s group. Trouble is, I just can’t help it sometimes.
Last evening I spoke to a group of about 30 women. We’d met to videotape session 4 for the DVD series based on Moving From Fear to Freedom. The title was “Facing the Storms of Life” and I wanted to encourage them not to seek to avoid the storms but to learn to dance in the rain. The only way that’s possible, I believe, is to know Jesus Christ and cling to His promises.
And so, I closed the evening with Isaiah 43:1,2,4,5. “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you, I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you….You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
Everything went well until I reached the part about the flames, and that’s when it hit me. Looking over the audience, I saw the faces of several women experiencing storms right now, and my heart broke for them. The pain of cancer, prodigal kids, divorce, abuse….it’s all there. My voice choked up and I couldn’t continue. It seemed like forever until I could speak, and when I did, words came from my mouth that I hadn’t anticipated saying.
“I know that some of you are going through storms right now. I want to make myself available to you to talk or pray, so I’ll sit at the back of this room. Come see me there, if you like.” Three women responded. God was at work, doing something good apart from my script. Imagine that.
This morning I struggle with mixed feelings. The choked voice, the pause, the struggle to regain my composure – it’s all on videotape. Part of me wrestles with feelings of failure as a speaker. The other part says to let it go and just let God do what He wants. His heart breaks for the pain these women carry, too. The good news is that He wants to heal them, to fill their hearts with peace and joy, to free them from their fears….to teach them to dance in the rain. And I’m trusting that He’ll do it regardless of my weaknesses and foibles.
These verses from Isaiah are so powerful. I pray that God will use them to accomplish His purposes in the lives of these precious women and those who will watch the video series when it’s released. I pray that they’ll bless you today, too, my friend.
Is there any part of these verses that’s particularly meaningful to you today?