Today, we finished up our study on the Tabernacle. Why I didn’t consider wrapping up the study on any other Sunday but Memorial Day weekend, I’ll never know — but God is good — and above all, He is faithful.
Case in point.
This time last year, there were two women in our class who showed up every Sunday… alone. They wanted their husbands to attend Sunday School with them more than anything else in the world, but they didn’t badger them, push them, or try to persuade them. They prayed for them and allowed their witness to “do the talking” for them. One husband came from a Catholic background, and to most outsiders, it was a “hopeless” case thinking he would come to a Baptist Sunday School class. The other, a long-time member of the church. I’m not sure what happened, but somewhere along the way, he was burned by a teacher or the group and had not attended Sunday School in years.
(Here’s where it gets exciting!)
The first husband took a huge step of faith in giving the group a try last summer, and he’s never left. As a matter of fact, he rarely misses a week — and on the weeks his wife can’t make it? He comes anyway. (I have chill bumps just writing this because God is SO AWESOME!)
The second husband came to the group for the first time several weeks ago when his daughter gave a presentation of her recent missions trip. His wife figured things would go back to the way it had always been the following Sunday… her leaving him at home as she left for Sunday School. But he came back… and he hasn’t missed a week since we began the Tabernacle study. (Here come those chill bumps again!) As a matter of fact, he had only been attending the group a few weeks when his wife woke up sick one Sunday morning… and he came without her. (Goodbye chill bumps… hello tears!)
Fast forward to this morning. The second couple mentioned above had planned to come to class before heading to the lake… but we were ready to begin and they weren’t there. As I proceeded to open up our time with an illustration, they walked through the doors — and they were not alone. His younger brother, who his wife had been inviting for many months, was following behind him.
It was no coincidence that the Altar of Incense was part of our last study in the Tabernacle. The power of intercessory prayer filled two extra seats this morning.
I share this story for two reasons. First, it speaks to the power of prayer and how we should never underestimate the power of God. Secondly, if you are praying for someone you know and love to draw nearer to God, never give up praying! Both of these women prayed for years before they saw their prayers come to fruition.
Those prayers were but a breath compared to eternity.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)