When I came back from outreach, I was worried.
I knew I’d be faced with the question; “What did God do?”
And although I knew He’d done so much in and through our team, I wasn’t sure if I could sum it up.
People want stories. They want to feel something, be pulled into a moment that you experienced.
And honestly, I didn’t come back armed with stories to share. I came back overwhelmed and slightly disillusioned.
I sat at dinner as the other teams started talking. “It was crazy, we felt the Holy Spirit move in a whole new way in that place,” someone said. “As we prayed, I watched his deformed leg grow back right before my eyes,” another told me, wide-eyed and ecstatic.
I grinned and ‘wowed’. Our God is great, isn’t He? But I began to feel this gnawing fear that my stories weren’t enough.
Over the final week of debrief, we were encouraged to share all of our outreach stories. “They’re to encourage others, and to bring God all the glory,” we were told.
I walked the hallways a little deflated. I knew that very soon a conversation would come where I would be asked point-blank, “So what did you see God do?”
I had the answers I was supposed to have. God brought transformation. He opened up people’s hearts. He showed His love to the kids on the street and lead us to pray for the people who needed it.
But nothing was crazy or out-there. I didn’t have personal stories of witnessing a mind-blowing healing or prophesying over someone on the street.
What I DID have were little stories. Like the time I was tired and ready to give up on street evangelism, and we met a young Venezuelan refugee who decided to come to church for the first time in 25 years and later committed his life to God. Like the time I was sent off to a bible study group on my own, and God silenced my fear and anxiety and lead me to share my testimony - entirely in Spanish - to a room full of girls who were struggling with the same things I’d walked through.
I could tell you about the little old lady I met struggling to carry her groceries home, who openly listened to the gospel and invited us into her house for tea. I can tell you about the group of kids who hadn’t smiled since an earthquake destroyed their small town, but who began to smile and play and laugh over a week of learning about how God is powerful and loves us indescribably. I could tell you how God knew exactly which homestay family I needed to be placed in; and how my friend and I were able to sow seeds of hope into a family coping with grief.
I could tell you a thousand stories like these. A thousand small recounts of how God moved, how He encountered people, and how He transformed them.
And the more I began to remember these ‘little stories’, God began to show me something. He whispered to my soul, “Madeleine. I am a God of the big and mighty. But I am also a God of the small, every-day. And those stories - they were not small or insignificant for the people whose lives were transformed. I have called some of my followers to see the big picture, and their stories are wild and impressive. But I have called YOU to encounter the ‘ones’. The individuals, the one-in-a-thousand, whose stories are not any less significant in my eyes.”
I was gobsmacked. I’d been struggling all week, caught up in the fear that I hadn’t done ‘enough’ to deserve a crazy-WOW-God-story. But when God revealed His heart to me, it all made sense. Suddenly my little stories of God working in people’s lives had worth.
They became precious testimonies of a God who sees the personal. Who cares about the little. Who doesn't need crazy signs and wonders to attest to His greatness.
The end of the week neared, and I sat down for dinner. Someone across the table leaned over and asked me, “So. Tell me. What did you see God do while you were in Ecuador?”
I took a breath. I smiled.
And I began to tell them everything.
All the little stories of my big, mighty God.