We played hookie during Benny Hinn's morning session.
Friday Noon, we went to one of those cheap buffet lunches on the Las Vegas strip. Coming back, I admit we tarried. Roland took me on the “New York, New York” roller coaster. (Therese tells me I should have kept my eyes open.) And we pulled on some of the "free pulls". And it's hard to get out of those places. They're huge and they turn you around and you don't know where the door is. And walking past the desert vegetation, smelling the desert air, we were reminded of and missed Aunt Charlotte.
Anyway, when Roland told me it was almost 4pm, well, we had to hustle. Our motel shuttle picked up at the Tropicana every hour on the hour, and we didn't have much time. The doors at the Center were already open for the Benny Hinn crusade. So we hustled. Only stopped for a moment at another free pull. But when we arrived at the Tropicana, people standing there told us that we had missed the Howard Johnson shuttle by just a couple minutes. Ohhh. We should have been better with our time. Having tried to get a cab the day before, we knew it could take some waiting. And there would be no chance of calling the surly shuttle driver and asking if he could come back sooner than the hour. He'd made that clear when he dropped us off. And I didn't want to walk the couple miles. I was tired from all the walking we'd already done. But before Roland and I even had a chance to look at each other and admit we messed up, around the corner came the Howard Johnson shuttle. Wow! The driver got out and opened the sliding door. As we climbed into the van, I asked, "what ever possessed you to come back?" But as the words left my mouth, I had to smile. I knew what had possessed him.
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 had called."
"No, we didn't call. We'd only been standing there a minute or so." 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. It was funny how many people we met there were in Las Vegas for the Crusade. It's kind of neat walking through a lobby and hearing a small huddled group discussing the book of Mark, or walk in the Deli and hear another group discussing miracle healings they'd witnessed. At the airport, there were people in wheelchair's, Bibles clutched on their laps. (Must have been a slow time for the casinos though...oh, whoops, if they were anything like us, the pull tabs were used.)
At any rate. it seems that God has consistently "been there" for us, even when we've stopped and pulled on that "free Pull."
I think of all the different things he's done, and I' feel so awe struck and humbled. And yet, I know how disappointed we get with our own children, and I know how disappointed they get with us. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel...but we keep pushing on and keep hoping they’ll learn soon. Well, I thank that the Lord, at times, is very disappointed in us also, but he keeps plugging away with us anyway; hoping we'll maybe catch on tomorrow.
That second evening at Benny Hinn, as things got going in that crowd of 20,000, I remembered how struck I was by this the night before. I know I've said some pretty negative things so far, but there seemed to be some good, too. Both evenings when he made an altar call I couldn't help but cry. It was awesome to see thousands of people swarming down to the floor with their hands raised high, (when they weren't punching each other) hungry for the Lord. It's so awesome to see all these people rush down the stairs, tears in their eyes, crying for help. I just couldn't help but cry with them, but so happy that they were going to get the help - if not from Benny Hinn, I was sure they would get it from the Lord. They were finally going to be able to rest in the arms of Jesus. This was truly the highlight of both evenings for me. We sat even higher in the nosebleed section on the second night. And it was just fine. We were much more rested when we arrived, because we came three hours later than the day before. We could still hear the message and actually, could see the people swarm to the floor much better from up there.
We had gone to check on a friend, Patricia, before we found our seats, just to tell her we were there. Patricia had a birth defect that made her unable to use her legs, and she got around on cruthces. We expected she would be in the same place and we were right. Go-getter that she is, she was in the best seats again. Not on the floor, because that was reserved for Benny's prayer support, wheelchairs, ...and probably hired actors..., but in the first row above, to the right of the stage, next to the stair well to get down on the floor next to the stage. Full good view of the speakers. So from our seat above - actually, where we could watch the stage from straight on - we could see Patricia and her friends. Patricia had been to these five times before. I asked her if she leaves the events disappointed when her legs aren't healed, and she said, "not at all." She's there for the anointing, for the pleasure of feeling the power of the event.
Having told me that... when the healing prayer began, I was surprised to see Patricia struggle to stand on her crutches and go to the stairwell to get to the floor. I tried to keep my eye on her. It was hard once she got to the floor because of the crush of people that were gathering down there as he took people up on stage one by one...
More to Come...