Back in the spring of 2001, kind friends gave my husband and I a gift of a trip to the Benny Hinn Crusade in Las Vegas. I didn't really want to go. As I said in a previous post, I tend to be cynical and don't trust faith healers. I believe that the Lord can and will answer our prayers just as assuredly, and maybe even more so, if we're praying by ourselves in our bedroom.
But my husband wanted to go. Well, he was the one that was ill, and if he felt that this was something he wanted to try, I wasn't going to stop him.
Christians respond to difficulties in many ways.
When we arrived at the arena where it was being held, there were thousands of people alreayd in line, waiting for the doors to open. It was humbling to see the different people there, all desperate for healing. He wasn't the only one sick. I guess it suprised me how many people with cancer and/or in wheelchairs where there. For some reason, I had it in my head that my husband would be the most sick.
People were so desperate that they pushed their way in line. Staff asked people to stay at the bottom of the stairs and not climb up to the pavilion doors because the crowd could hurt each other up there. But people mouthed off and refused to leave the pavilion doors. Some said they were there on God’s mission, and that they had a right to be wherever they wanted. One woman prayed curses against the "rules of men."
I was embarrased, to be honest.
I understand wanting to be first, but who are they putting their trust in? Benny Hinn or Jesus? Does being first in line ensure healing? Does pushing a sister or brother in the Lord out of the way ensure healing?
At the bottom of the stairs, one man joked, “Christians are like tea bags. When the water gets hot, you can see what’s in them.”
I liked him.
But in watching the desperation of so many, my husband and I also realized something we hadn't realized before. We weren't desperate. The initial diagnosis and a couple other times were rough, but we weren’t desperate. We KNEW the Lord had the situation well in hand, and we were grateful to God for that.
The next day we decided not to rush to be in line and went to lunch. Coming back, we were slow. When I saw it was almost 4 PM, we started to hurry. Our motel shuttle picked up at the Tropicana every hour on the hour. But when we arrived at the Tropicana, people told us we had missed the shuttle by just a couple minutes.
We knew we should have been better with our time. The shuttle driver made it clear when he dropped us off that he would only be back once an hour. But before we had a chance to admit it was our fault for being slow, around the corner came the shuttle.
The driver got out and opened the sliding door. As we climbed in, we wondered why he had come back.
One of the other riders said, "I don't know why he turned around. He just went and turned around. You mean you didn't call? I thought maybe you’d called."
Then, after another thought, that rider (a stranger to us) held up a Bible. "Maybe it had something to do with this then." We laughed. We were sure it had.
What this incident reminded us of was that God always seems to "be there" for us. Nothing flashy. He's just always "there." Even when we aren't perfect. Apparently, he was still there for us even though we well...oh well, swe topped in that casino we had wandered through and pulled on that "free pull." And he still turned the van around for us. That's pretty amazing, considering how little we deserved it.
We think of all the times he's just been there, caring for us, and we are awe struck and humbled.
More to come....