This morning I spoke from Acts 6 – 8 on the life and death of Stephen, the first martyr of the church, at our Women’s Bible Study. I opened with this story. _____
I walked in to the gym the other day to work out and this is what I noticed about myself –as soon as entered the gym I straightened up. I put my shoulders back, I stood taller (and can I say this? I sucked in my gut). There was something about being in that environment that helped me. can’t explain it. I’ll slump in my chair at my office desk, but walk in to the gym, and I’m as tall as an oak tree.
In some ways, that is how I feel when I am in the presence of someone who I know loves and trusts God. Just being with them makes me stand taller and helps me to be more aware of my own posture. God uses their presence to help make me stronger and to help increase my faith.
Nancy Erickson is one of those people for me. I haven’t seen her for years, but she was very influential early on in my walk with the Lord. There was just something about her that was different from what I ever experienced. Very different.
As I got to know her, I watched and witnessed her gentleness, her love for people, how she parented and grand-parented, taught bible study, and persevered faithfully. One time a hot pumpkin pie dropped out of the oven onto her foot resulting in a hospitalization for an infection. I watched her in the hospital endure pain with joy, and love every person who walked in her door, never making it about herself, but always about them and the Lord.
I saw her seize any and every opportunity to love in the name of Jesus. She spoke the truth – God’s truth, helped me see the bigger picture and the details about Who God was how He loved me. And (and this was no small “and”) she helped me to understand why God allowed my child to have special needs.
She believed in me, because she believed in the Lord. And she loved me.
I knew she wasn’t perfect, but there was something about her that was VERY different – and it made me want to know God better. Memories of her still make me want to know Him better.
Sometimes, God uses people to reveal Himself to us, doesn’t He? Now I can see that it was the ministry of the Holy Spirit in her and her choice to love Jesus in everything she did that was so different. Then, I just knew she was unique and that what she had was beautiful.
What about you? Is there someone in your life that makes you want to know God better? What do you see in them? How does that increase your faith and help you to stand taller for the Lord?
Let them know. God may use you, in return, to encourage them.