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Friday, October 5, 2007

God Sees Individuals in a Crowd

I work in a large youth ministry. Last Sunday night, 433 students came through the doors. Before you write us off as “too into numbers” or as a holding bin for teenagers stuffed with free pizza, let me say that big numbers don’t necessarily mean anything. Or, they can mean a lot. Actually, numbers do matter because people matter, and in that crowd of 433, there were 433 unique individuals looking for acceptance and a safe place to have fun. Certainly, the Holy Spirit can and does move through large crowds as well as small crowds, orchestrating circumstances and drawing people’s minds and hearts to Him.

Case in point: a middle school student I’ll call “Bobby.” Sunday night, our youth pastor noticed Bobby at a video game. They had never met before, but our pastor engaged Bobby in conversation. It turns out that Bobby’s father had collapsed and died of a heart attack at 53 years old this week. The funeral was already over.

Our pastor was of course moved by Bobby’s circumstance. He was able to establish the beginning of a relationship with Bobby and speak hope and courage into Bobby’s life. But God didn’t stop working there.

Later that night, our guest speaker was Stephanie Arnold, a former Olympic archer who uses her skills to enhance her talks about her faith in various venues. This past year, Stephanie’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident. She told the crowd Sunday night that this was the first time she had been able to talk about her loss without breaking down. She talked about how God had helped her through this hard time in her life.

Do you think that one little 6th grade boy in the crowd was hanging on every word?

It took a lot of time, work and resources to make last Sunday night happen, and God receives the glory. It is by him, in him and for him that nights such as this happen. And yes, it was an elaborate event. Some might say over the top, too "worldy," too many bells and whistles, not deep enough, not churchy enough--but I know how the staff would respond; I feel sure that they would do it all again, even just for Bobby. Because he’s worth it. He matters to God, and he matters to us.

Do you recognize times in your life when God arranges moments and circumstances to meet you at your point of need? Do you realize that you matter so much to God that he always sees you in the crowd, even a crowd of 6 billion people?

May you feel his watchful, loving eye on you as you move throughout your day. Whatever trials touch you, they are only passing through by his permission, and he will give you grace to face them. And if you should happen to remember Bobby today, please pray for him. It’s been a tough week, but God’s eye is definitely on him. He’s a V.I.P..

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Blogger Melanie said...

We are so unique that he has numbered the very hairs on our head! Great post on how matters to Him. Thanks, Linda!

October 5, 2007 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Oh Linda,

I started reading this and knew immediately who was writing without neededing to scroll down.

My spirit recognizes you and your servant heart. Thankyou for this story. I see God is so many ways meeting me and others -EXACTLY- the second they need Him and meeting their very need.

Lord, I lift up Bobby. My heart swelled for him as I read his story. Comfort him this week. Place a yearing in his heart to seek you out to be his father now. Help him through his gried and give him Godly friends. In Jesus name, Amen.

October 5, 2007 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Wow! Well said. It always amazes me how God can reach out to each of us, individually, while we're in a large group/meeting/service.

October 5, 2007 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger samurai said...

There was a poem writen that of course I cannot remember either the title of, or the exact words to... but it spoke to this concept.

God see us, individually. Wether we are in a crowd of 433 or a room of 1.


October 5, 2007 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

It does boggle our finite minds that God sees each and every one of us in the midst of a crowd. What a loving God we have.

I don't thing huge youth events area a bad thing. Like you said it gives kids a safe place to have fun and what an opportunity to present the gospel to them.

October 5, 2007 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger lori said...

I was touched by your post...I teach on Fridays in a homeschool co-op and the stories are NEVER know who God is placing on the path..

A friend sent me to, if you scroll down there is a story called, "pancakes." It is exactly what you are talking of today..God orchestrated that change lives!! It is WORTH the time to read it, my husband and I were both in tears...
It will touch your heart!
Thanks for the reminder today...Helping others find the hope they need...that IS what we were made to do!

October 5, 2007 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger lori said...

LINDA...can't believe I wrote Lynn...realized it after I clicked..publish:) forgive me!!!

October 5, 2007 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Be blessed Bobby.

October 5, 2007 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Wow, Linda. I loved how you began this post. We work in a *very* large ministry, and I know what it's like to either be too hung up on numbers or to write off large numbers... Reading about sweet Bobby reminds me of what I tell myself each week- behind every face there's a story. I'll be praying for him, and for you, too as you continue to minister to those kids. Thanks for this post today!

October 6, 2007 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Thanks for letting us see him in the crowd too. I'll pray for him.

October 6, 2007 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Joyce said...

What God can do. I have been in curcomstance in large gatherings and from personal experience have met people in many different problems and needs. I am glad your Church did something like that.

October 6, 2007 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Vicki said...

So beautiful, and I'll be also praying for Bobby. Thanks for reminding me that whether I'm alone or in a crowd, God's loving eye is on me....He knows me. I sometimes wonder if anyone else knows or care, but He does. For sure.

October 6, 2007 at 11:09 AM  

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