Since I began working at Desiring God, I have participated in five conferences. For the most part, my responsibilities are defined by working at a booth and talking to people about Desiring God.
Every conference I have met someone dealing with significant hardships, either personally or in their families: disability, disease, drug or alcohol abuse, death, persecution for beliefs at work or home. This conference included a dad who lost his adult son to cancer and a grandma whose grandchild lives in a permanent vegetative state with multiple disabilities, among others.
I know I’m ‘out there’ on this issue of disability, but none of these people know that – it just comes up. So I’m puzzling through why that happens and so far have come up with two possible things:
- Pastor John talks about suffering – a lot. Suffering people will find much at Desiring God – books, sermons, conference messages – that help them see God as he truly is in the midst of their suffering: sovereign, strong, intentional, loving, capable. It makes sense that such people would come to Desiring God conferences.
- God helps us, often through other people who are faithfully trusting in him. Given how much God has helped us through, it makes sense that the Holy Spirit would guide some people to me to talk specifically about our situation and the faithfulness of God to us personally. God has certainly guided me to such people in the past and I expect he will do so again when I need help in the future.
Now, of course, there were hundreds of other people at the conference in the midst of hard circumstances that I didn’t talk to. Many of my colleagues, both staff and volunteers, also have stories of praying with people suffering under extraordinary burdens. But I still find it interesting who God brought specifically to me.
Does God do that to you as well? Do you find yourself in the most sensitive of conversations on the deepest of subjects in unusual, unexpected places?
And rather than being a hardship, I find myself grateful that God introduces me to such people. God is good!
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2
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