Renewal

Wyoming Storm

Rain.  It can be seen as beautiful and refreshing or as dreary and damp.  Farmers pray for it when it is dry and beg God to take it away when there’s too much.  For me, rain was simply water that fell from the sky to quench the thirst of the plants, until my very first day in Mongolia.

This is a story about spiritual warfare, understanding God’s love for His children, redemption, and a change of perspective on the rain that washes the earth.

As a little bit of background information; I did YWAM’s (Youth with a Mission’s) DTS (Discipleship Training Program).  If you do not know what this is then I would urge you to check it out, it had a life-changing impact on me.  The YWAM base that I went to was called CWAM or “Cowboys with a Mission” which is based out of the old west town of Meeteetse, Wyoming.

I went there for a 5-month discipleship training program.  I decided to go to YWAM for two reasons; the first reason was to discover who God was on a more personal level (to figure out what faith meant to me, who God is to me, instead of Christianity being based on what my family does) and the second reason was to try and figure out what I was supposed to do with my life (but that is a whole other story).

When you seek God with all of your heart, you will find Him.  He reveals Himself in incredible and deeply personal ways.

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Luke 11:9-11 (ESV)

I discovered this Truth during my time with YWAM. Yes, I am getting back to my rain story, and yes, it all ties together.

MONGOLIA 2014

As I said, my first day in the country of Mongolia changed my view of rain.  It also opened my eyes to a new way that God speaks and reveals Himself.  This was also the first day of the outreach portion of my DTS.

Our group had arrived at our outreach site and we had started on a building project which involved moving bricks by hand.  We had been working for only about an hour before a phone call came in from a local pastor.  He called to say there was a spiritual battle happening in their youth group.  They just finished a youth retreat and the devil was attacking some of their youth.  We stopped what we were doing and started praying for them.  A couple of minutes later we were asked to go over to the church to be present while we prayed with them.  If I am being totally honest I was quite nervous about the whole situation, especially being in a new country where I know only how to say, “hello, how are you,” in the native language.

We started our trek over to the church.  No one really knew what to expect and we remained silent as we walked.  In the silence, I was praying, and to be honest, the prayers were mostly for me, that I would have the strength and the faith to face this situation.

About midway through the walk, it started sprinkling outside, a light rain.  It was the kind of rain that was very welcome on a hot summer afternoon especially after moving bricks for an hour.  However, there was something different about this rain.  About a minute after it started God reminded me of something, that rain brings renewal and refreshment.  God brought the rain to renew and refresh the earth that day but also to give some sweaty young adults some relief.  However, renewal and refreshment from God does not just come through the rain.  He also reminded me through His Spirit that He refreshes and renews our spirits through His supernatural love and His touch upon our lives.

I found this incredibly encouraging as I was heading into this new situation.  I thanked God for reminding me of this truth.  Just before we reached the building it started raining harder, the drops got bigger and were closer together as they fell from the sky.  Again God reminded me, “I am here and I bring renewal and refreshment.  I am a cooling balm to hurting wounds and I love my children.”

The church was on the second floor of the building and as we climbed the steps the air felt like it was physically thick and spiritually heavy.  I continued praying as we climbed.  I thanked God for how He had reassured me of His presence on the walk over but also admitted to Him that I was still very unsure of the whole situation that we were entering.  As my head reached the second level of the floor I could literally feel the spiritual battle that was happening.  The atmosphere of the room felt chaotic and yet at the same time, there was this incredible feeling of God’s presence and His peace.  All of the nervousness that was building on my walk over disappeared at that moment.  There were also beautiful voices singing, the youth who were empowered by God’s strength had gotten out their guitars and were singing worship music, others had gathered around the last girl who was wrestling in this spiritual battle and they were praying over her.  It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever witnessed. This was a battle, yes, but victory is found in Jesus, and the battle over sin and death has already been won.

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (ESV)

In that room, I could feel the battle increase and as it did the power of the storm outside did too.  It was pouring, there was thunder and lightning.  People were praying and singing and God reminded me again of His love and power, “My love pours out for my children, I have defeated Satan and he has no power here.  This is my daughter whom I have created and she is free through my Son.”  At that moment the storm broke and started to calm.  The girl who was fighting in the spiritual battle started to declare that she was a daughter of the King of Kings.  She had found victory in Jesus and was freed from the torment and lies of the devil.  (Our translator translated what she was saying so that we could understand).  Everyone in the room began to rejoice that the girl had been set free from spiritual oppression and that God had renewed her life.  They praised God for the work that He had done in their youth group that day and that whole weekend of their retreat.  The musical worship to God started up again and the girl joined in as well.  We stayed with them until the rest of the youth went home from their weekend retreat.

Through that experience, I was reminded that God is so powerful and He loves and cares for each of His children, every person on this earth that He has created.  Yes, the devil looms on this earth waiting for his opportunity to steal and destroy, to plant lies in our hearts and minds, to discourage us.  But, freedom and victory are found in Jesus.  Strength is found in God and we can overcome through the power of God who is our strength in the battles that we face in life.  God really revealed Himself to me through the rain and showed me that He cares for each and every one of His children.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
James 4:7-8 (ESV)
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 (ESV)

How has/does God revealed Himself to you?  Comment below, I would love to hear about your experiences!!

 

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