I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
The Majesty of heaven, while engaged in His earthly ministry, prayed much to His Father. He was frequently bowed all night in prayer. . . . The Mount of Olives was the favorite resort of the Son of God for His devotions.-Ellen White, Amazing Grace, page 167.
Jesus had His favorite place to meet with His Father. Do you have a special place to be with Him? For the last 8 years, while serving as a Bible Worker in the Tampa Bay area, I have a favorite park bench at Ballast Point Park. After a full day and evening of evangelism, many a night has found me on my park bench, looking over the bay, at the car lights racing down Bay Shore Drive. The reflections from the condos and city lights dance on the dark bay waters. I talk with God about all the people I met that day. I share my trials and triumphs. Then, as I imagine all the individuals in the cars speeding down Bay Shore Drive, and all the thousands of souls in the thousands of windows I see in the dark skyline, I ask God to write His love story on all their hearts. I am weak and helpless, but I know the Holy Spirit can do great things in my city and beyond. If I have learned anything at all in my 20 years of Bible work, it is this. I need to talk to Jesus about people, twice as much as I talk to people about Jesus. I am worthless in the multitude if I have not first been alone with Jesus.
Every night that I meet with Jesus in the park, I know He is with me through His Spirit. One night, not so long ago particularly stands out in my heart. That night I was talking to Jesus about my triumphs, but also my trials. In evangelism you see God at work but you also see satan at work as well. Satan would love to see the Bible work put out of business. I told God that as long as He enables me to rise above satan’s attacks, that I would always share the gospel with others. I felt so small and weak, as I looked out over the city, knowing the evil that lurked throughout the streets and neighborhoods. On my own I could so easily be blown away. I begged God to be with me and never leave me.
The following morning I went to the community service center at our church, where I meet with those who are down and out and try to help and encourage them. As I walked in the door, my prayer from the previous evening was not on my mind, but apparently it was still on God’s mind. An elderly lady volunteer came right up to me, and before I could even greet her, she gave me a bear hug, and told me that God was blessing my ministry and that God knew what I was up against, and that satan would not be able to stop what I was doing for Jesus. She told me she was always praying for me and for me to never stop working for Jesus. It took a few moments for me to realize what she was telling me, was exactly what I was praying about the night before, in Ballast Point Park. I realized God was answering my prayer through her! Then I realized, if her message was from God, then so was the hug that came with it. That morning God gave me a message but even more so, He gave me a big bear hug!
Thank you Jesus for being with me when I enter people’s homes to share the gospel. Thank you also for being with me, alone on a park bench in Ballast Point Park. Thank you for your confirmation, and even more so for the big bear hug you gave me along with it!