In a sermon from Luke 7:36-50 by Matt Adair a few weeks ago, he made this statement:
‘The greatest power to set you free from the addictions, afflictions and assorted troubles of this world is the felt love of Jesus.”
I think we can all say we know the difference between believing we are loved and then feeling loved by someone. We have asked members of our church to share stories of a time when they really felt loved by Jesus. There is so much power in the stories of believers, so we hope you are encouraged by these.
Our fourth story is by Protege member Collin Ross:
In the summer of 2009 I opted to work as a camp counselor for a traveling day camp for elementary-aged kids called WinShape Camps C3. The following events occurred in the seventh week of that summer.
Daylight was fading as we drove back to our hotel from dinner. I had no idea that something terrible was happening at that very moment, more than a thousand miles away. We were all exhausted from the day’s work of entertaining and teaching young kids about archery and Jesus – a typical day. As midnight approached my phone chimed with a text message. It was a friend of mine telling me that one of my very good friends had been in a horrendous car accident in Montana where he was serving as a summer missionary. I felt all the joy, hope, and happiness rush out of the room as my eyes reread the message.
I spent the next four hours switching between calling people for more information on the situation and praying on my knees, begging God for help. With each update the situation looked worse and worse. His car had flipped several times on the highway. He was in ICU, critical condition. His lungs have collapsed. They can’t keep him stabilized.
I was completely helpless, and I fell asleep completely helpless.
The next morning we shipped out to our camp location, piling into the car at 5:50am. I knew the rules: no phone while working the camp. This detail seemed insignificant to me before that day, but there was only one thing on my mind while stepping into the van: my friend might die today, and I won’t even know.
My graying world was suddenly interrupted by color, my sorrow interrupted by radiance. We had just driven to the top of a hill with a clear view of the horizon where the sunrise was showing off majestically. I can’t explain with my limited vocabulary what happened when I saw the colors of that sunrise, but imagine all of the joy, hope, and happiness that was sucked out of my room upon reading that first solemn message, and visualize them suddenly rushing into my heart at light-speed. I felt embraced – held in the arms of one who loves me. My situation remained unchanged, but it was as if Jesus was saying, “I’m still here. Yes, things are bad, but I’m still here.”
And that is always enough.
Sometimes I forget the power of hope. It’s one thing to be in the midst of sorrow, hurt, and disappointment. It’s a completely different thing to be in the midst of sorrow, hurt, disappointment and feel embraced by the One who loves you.
[the friend in the car accident had a full recovery!]