Running through the garden with the wind on his back, the boy running from his pursuer suddenly finds a good hiding spot as he lays waiting for the pursuer to disappear, to ponder and glaze upon his stolen prize. However, the floor suddenly collapses beneath his feet. His pursuer calls for help. As the boy lays on the cold, hard ground staring into the mysterious tunnel of darkness he hears a sound….
What happens when we fall down, go through many rounds in the ring, and life beats us down? Ministry, various prayer meetings, and outreach efforts have bore little fruits as everything goes into oblivion?
Giving up and retreating into hiding seems possible.
The Dream Team
Four years ago, I was part of a group of students planning a large catalytic gathering in New York City. It was a well-oiled machine. We were moving on all cylinders; everything went smoothly and the night was a powerful night of prayer and worship.
However, like most ministry teams, in the midst of transition, our Dream Team, as I called it, dwindled down to one person: me. It was hard to rebuild, and later, in the fall semester, there were only two members who struggled in planning another large catalytic gathering. Looking at the horizon, we never lost hope and kept praying and knocking on God’s door for more team members. At the end of the year, there were still only two members. Nevertheless, we kept moving forward despite falling and failing a couple of times. We never let up and always prayed. We kept knocking until there was one scripture that stuck with our team, Luke 18:1-18, the parable of the persistent widow.
“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly…
We were like a small team of persistent widows. In the years that have followed, God has provided both a small and large core to get things done. Something I learned over the years is that prayer works, but we sometimes don’t want to wait for God’s timing. However, God’s timing is always right. Even when the going gets tough and I feel like giving up, I often tell myself to push forward or to use an acronym P.U.S.H “pray until something happens.” It is that persistent faith, and knowing that God is sufficient, that kept the team and I going.
Out of the tunnel, a swarm of bats engulf the child and leave him terrorized as he faints waking up to his father’s hand. His father carries him out of the hole as he lies in his arms. Walking through the garden, he relents and gives back the stolen treasure to his pursuer.
Alfred: “Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce?”
Thomas Wayne: “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
Even though there are times when we can’t pick ourselves up, Jesus will carry us through on his back. Keep moving forward, and when you do fall, it’s through those moments of great opportunity that you create the greatest moments of faith.
Anthony Deng is the New York City Metro Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. He leads and coordinates volunteers for events such as One Cry and helps facilitate the New York City Metro Area student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City, graduated from CUNY the City College of New York, and has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses. On his tour, he teaches and shows students various hidden gems of New York City. On the side, he loves to collect college sweatshirts and t-shirts. In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football. He an avid fan of the Pacers & Colts.