Ring Of Fire
With an archway of billowing flags held over our heads, Julie leads the worship as only Julie can. Imagine someone dancing in a wheelchair -- the person holding the handles orchestrates the motions, but as she's a a'turning and a'twirling, her smile says it all. “This is fun!” she cries out. And we hear her voice clear as a bell.
Julie demonstrates to the women at Rainbow camp, who have lost their freedom for a time, that they still have their arms and legs; therefore they can dance. They have their voice; therefore they can sing a song to the Lord? “If you can make the effort to come to Friday nights every week, then I can too,” one inmate tells her taking her hand.
Song of Solomon 2:4
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love [for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near him].
What can possibly separate us from the love of God? The Bible says: Nothing high, nothing low, no depths or breadth of any experience, tragedy, or circumstance can put a wedge between us and the great love of our God (Romans 8:35,9). Yet, on a Friday night, with the holidays approaching and a heaviness lingering from four deaths on the front line of fire, the women of Rainbow Camp do not feel the closeness of their God? at least not in the first moments they enter the room.
These are the nights where the rubber meets the road. Randy, Jack, Julie, Marilyn, Kristen, Cindy, Joel - seven servants who have one thing in common: We “just show up!” As surely as we drive up that mountain and check in that sterile office, the One who has the answers the women need, the resources to heal them, the power to bring hope to their future -- He shows up to meet us there.
Sow the seed and the multiplication begins: the steady stream of volunteers who come every Friday night prompt the inmates to bring their friends along to the meetings. The warmth of the offered hugs, smiles, prayers, singing voices, and listening ears seem to bring a ripple effect to the women as they reach out and invite their friends.
“I brought my friend with me tonight? but she doesn't know if she believes in God. She said she'd pray with us though,” one woman whispers in my ear as she looks at me shrugging her shoulders.
Now, if I stop to wonder, “Hmmmmm. Maybe I better not do this banner thing because the new girls might think it's weird” (a word that does not appear in the Bible by the way!), then I'll never do it. But I see a picture in my mind. I see a ring of fire created by the women dancing under the raised banners. The Bible tells us to raise a banner to the Lord. After all, He is a King.
Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? 39Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up My hand to the Gentile nations and set up My standard and raise high My signal banner to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in the bosom of their garments, and your daughters will be carried upon their shoulders.
I look out at the women and I sense in my spirit that though this is unusual for some of the women they are curiously trying to identify why they don't care if it is strange and what is this amazing feeling they are feeling in their hearts! “Some of you don't understand the love of God - it's totally foreign to you but you're feeling it tonight and you want to know more? (Boldness takes a hold; not what I have in my natural self, but what the Holy Spirit provides when it's needed): “If you would like to know more about this love of God and ask Him to show you, I want you to stand up right now?” Silence. But I've learned that He is faithful. So I wait. One woman stands up. It is the friend of the gal who told me she brought her and she immediately burst into tears. Then the woman behind her stands up too. We pray over them. We wrap the Rainbow Banner over them and two souls come into the Kingdom tonight.
Go with the promptings - even when they seem weird! They just might be the catapult that launches a desperate heart right into the arms of there loving Heavenly Father.
Cindy I. CA USA
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