Every once in awhile, God does something that literally amazes me. I know that we serve a great God that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or imagine. And yet, He still blows my mind.
He’s done that twice in the last two days. My wife Marilee and I are attending our annual Chaplains Conference and our denomination’s International Conference, called “Connection” being held in Anaheim, California.
On Friday night, after a long day of meetings, Marilee and I decided to go down to the pool with the intention of soaking in the hot tub and relaxing in the pool. In our wildest dreams, we couldn’t have imagined what happened next.
As we approached the hot tub, we could see it was full of young people, literally overflowing with excited teenagers. We were about to turn back when a bunch of the kids got out, creating room for us to enter the hot tub. At first we felt more than a little uncomfortable, being the only older folks present. We were standing elbow to elbow with rowdy teens who were checking out the “old geezers.” To our surprise, one of the young men said hello and introduced us to his friend that was sitting on the edge of the hot tub with him.
He told us they were part of a group of 49 kids, age 14-18, from El Paso, Texas. They had driven 18 hours to attend a choral competition the next day. Then I told him that Marilee also sang and how she used to be really shy until I encouraged her to sing in front of 400 inmates in a maximum security prison where all the inmates were packing foot long knives. That got their attention and before I knew it, we had an instant audience.
I then got to tell them about our encounter with an angel who led us into the heart of the prison, opening 6-8 locked steel doors with no keys! As I spoke, I could see the kids drawing in closer, their eyes fixed on us, drinking in every word spoken. It was then I suggested to Marilee that she sing the song in Russian that God had given her to share with the inmates. As she began to sing, they called out to their other friends to come join us in the hot tub.
First, she sang the song in English, then in Russian. As her beautiful voice wafted through the air, I sensed God was doing something very special in our midst. We had the kids’ undivided attention. It was then that I had the idea of having them sing a song for us. With that, they got very excited and began to call their other friends over to the hot tub to join in the song. Then their choral director came over to see what all the commotion was about.
With her phone, she played a few notes, tuning them up, and then they began to sing the most beautiful song of praise and worship to the Lord. “Could this really be happening?” I thought to myself. Looking around, I counted 32 of us in the hot tub, with their praises and hallelujahs resounding all around the outdoor pool complex. Angelic music filled the air, reaching up to the rooms and balconies all around the pool and outdoor restaurant dining area.
They then proceeded to give us an impromptu concert filled with sacred songs that had to bless everyone nearby. When I offered to pray for them and their competition the next day, immediately, the kids extended their hands. As we joined hands with each other, I prayed over them, asking God to bless them and their efforts as they exalted Him.
Then the kids began to ask us questions about our ministry in the prisons. We were able to share Christ with them for another half hour. They were hanging on every word we spoke, just drinking it all in. It was such a special anointed time. But then, it was time for the pool to close so we had to conclude our time together. As the kids exited the hot tub, many profusely thanked us for sharing with them.
Afterwards, Marilee and I could hardly believe what had happened. God had given us a Surprise Party! A Divine encounter! But that wasn’t the end of it. The next evening, as I was returning to our room, I bumped into the choral director. She thanked me for being so good to her kids and for sharing with them. She said the kids were telling all their friends and even her the angel story.
I then asked her how the kids did in their competition. She proudly said, “They got gold in one competition and a second place in another!”
Thank you Lord for blessing us so richly through these young people. You never cease to amaze me!