It was February 2001. The arena staff at the Benny Hinn event had asked that people stay at the bottom of the stairs to wait and not climb up to the pavilion doors to wait, as the crowd could injure each other up there. This seemed right, because when you were at the bottom of the stairs looking up, you couldn't see who is on the pavilion. You would mount the stairs, not being able to assess the crowd, and then would have to push to find a place to stand once you got up there. Others behind you would also be pushing. The result could very well cause injury to those closest to the glass doors.
But people were defiant with the staff. Even angry. They mouthed off to the staff, refused to budge. Some said they had God on their side and therefore a right to be there.
(One man joked, “Christians are like tea bags. When the water gets hot, you can see what’s really in them.”)
Then, when the staff decided not to press the issue with the most rebellious people, these people contently sat by the doors singing praise songs. Give me a break.
And...as much as I enjoy singing, I couldn't enter in. Not with that crowd.
I had to really struggle to get rid of ill feelings and judgement. Get myself back out of that hole. I had to remember that growth is an on-going process and I need to be patient with brothers and sisters in the same way that I want people to be patient with me. The way so many have been patient with us already through the years. So many have given Roland and I Grace, put up with our bad behavior. In fact, I'd decided to try to be a submissive person only five months or so earlier, when we moved up to the Bible college. Now, I looked at these things and realized that God is not likely to Bless me if I'm acting in rebellion and disobedience. But it took awhile for me to realize that. The best I could do for these other people would be to simply pray for them. Pray God's mercy for them that wisdom will come.
And then of course came the thoughts...is it really necessary to come the earliest and then struggle with these feelings that accompany line-ups. The nose bleed section should be close enough to hear Benny in, and then I won't have to hear the stuff immediately prior, which is not only distracting but down right ugly.
So we contently sat in the nose bleed section and prayed together for Roland's healing. We were convinced healing had begun sometime in the last month anyway, and this was simply a reinforcement of work God had already begun in addition to teaching us on the how and why.
Then - when they called for people to come down to the arena floor if they felt they were healing, Roland decided to go. (Well, it was like, if we sit here...are we saying the negative?) So we started moving slowly with the crowd toward the stairs. But when we reached the steps to try to get on the floor, the shoving was so intense that Roland and I were getting separated in the crowd. He reached his hand back, grabbed mine and pulled. In doing that, I pushed past other people. Nice people. I kept looking back to see that my rudeness hadn't discouraged them, and I couldn't see them. I felt bad about that. I didn't want to do that again.
In fact, Roland didn't want to either. Seeing how difficult it would be to get much further, he turned us around and we went back to our seats.
Roland ended up being too tired to attend the next morning’s session. He remained sleeping until 10am. That was understandable, because being in line early the day before had wiped him out. He'd had little chance to rest.
More to Come....