The happy dance of hope

Just last month it happened, one of those opportunities that hit you in the face—in a good way, I mean. Two young women walked into a Bible study hoping to find Jesus’ love. They were desperate for encouragement, acceptance, and purpose. So they came to church.

And that’s the perfect place for hope, right? Should be. Now let me add a few details and see if the waters get muddy: Both ladies—we’ll call them Jill and Jane—arrived late. They didn’t have Bibles, but they did have cell phones with catchy ring tones (guess how I know this). Jill’s low-cut shirt—well, just wow. It was a really low-cut shirt. Jane’s eyes were vacant, sad, and red from crying. I found out later she’d taken Xanax to dull the pain.

I’d like to think that what happened next made the Father proud. Immediately, my Jesus-following sisters nodded at each other, the “this ain’t gonna be no typical Bible study” look. Then they jumped into beautiful action. Melissa offered huge hugs, embraces so tight I’m sure they felt the Holy Spirit surging in her veins. Brianne scrambled around for extra chairs. Jenny closed her study book, smiled warmly, and said, “I’m so glad you’re here. We’ve all been in the same boat, looking for answers. So how can we help you find the love of Christ? His arms are open wide, just for you.”

If you’re a Jesus follower too, does this story send you into a happy dance? Are you smiling at the computer because your sisters—this time, anyway—got it right? Well, keep reading: These two newcomers, curious about God and us “churchy people,” decided to become Jesus followers, too.  (Insert happy dance of choice here. I’m an 80’s child, so it’s “Hammer Time” for me.) Amen! All are welcome in His loving, merciful arms!

And we didn’t leave them hanging, these sweet baby Christians who now need guidance. Right away we traded cell phone numbers and made plans for lunch. Books were loaned, and Bibles were bought. In fact, later today my friend Jenny and I will see them for extra doses of encouragement. Oh, they are growing by leaps and bounds already! Praise the Lord!

So that’s the latest, a true story of two young women finding the Savior they were searching for. Aching for, actually. How humbling to play a small part in their discovery! That’s our calling, my sisters in Christ. And it’s only logical: If  we experience an intimate relationship with Holy God, then aren’t we compelled to share it? To keep our eyes peeled for people who need Him?

I wonder how many more are out there. I wonder how many have walked into church and left feeling isolated, judged, and unworthy. Oh, God, help us see! Wake us from our comfy Sunday pews and cozy church socials! I pray that at every turn, we will appear as bright lights in this crooked and dark world, holding tight to the Word of life (Philippians 2:15). You have the light. You have the hope. Now look around: Who needs a flicker of both?



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