Saturday, July 18, 2009

Full Circle and Small Beginnings

I've been praying for almost two years for God to provide a Prayer Coordinator for our NW PA Operation Christmas Child team. On Thursday we had a team meeting and a guest named Linda came. She's been wanting to come for a year now but just made it. Actually, she almost didn't make the meeting this week. She lives in Albion (almost an hour away) and when she went out to get in her car she found her husband had taken her keys. But I called another team member who lives near her and graciously offered her a ride.

The cool thing is that Linda was responsible for first bringing OCC to Erie County back in 1994. Her small church served as a 'relay center' before that term even came into being. They collected boxes from around our county and trucked them two hours away to the nearest collection point.

At the end of our meeting we had a time of group prayer and as Linda started to pray I knew why Satan had tried to keep her from coming. Her prayer went something like this, "God, in Your Word you say that we shouldn't 'despise the day of small beginnings' and I remember all those years ago sitting on my living room floor and watching a TV program that mentioned Operation Christmas Child. I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with and now all these years later there's this team here..."

As Linda continued to pray, tears rolled down my cheeks and I thought, God, I think this is our Prayer Coordinator--coming back to us after starting OCC in Erie 15 years ago.

When the meeting ended I asked Linda if she'd consider signing on to be Prayer Coordinator and she answered, "I'll pray about it." Just the reply I wanted.

Not able to sleep that night, I checked that reference to the 'day of small beginnings.' It's from Zechariah 4:10. I began reading the book of Zechariah and with the help of a commentary I learned that the book is full of God's assurances that Zerubbabel would finish rebuilding the temple, even though he'd made only a 'small beginning'. In an earlier verse (4:6) God reminds him (and us) that it's "not by might nor by power but my Spirit."

I thought of God bringing Linda back in a full circle from the small beginnings of OCC in our area to our growing team. And I thought of how small our team's beginnings seem even now. And I thought of God who is always faithful to His promises and will 'bring it to pass'--by His Spirit.

In His time.

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