One participant did not want to be there. She had a pretty hefty scowl and used it all the time.Whatever was going on, she didn’t want to be a part of it. No matter how much we smiled at her and encouraged her, she refused to take part in anything. No singing, no clapping, definitely no happy face. She would literally twist around in her chair so that her back was to the front of the room.
Early on, we decided that we were going to love her to death. We made a vow that nothing she asked for would be beyond our reach.The room was too hot? We opened a window.
The room was too cold? We closed a window.She had to go to the bathroom in the middle of a presentation not ten minutes after a bathroom break? No problem.
Before going to bed that first night, she complained that her back was hurting because of the folding chair she had to sit in. She wanted to go home.We asked her to stay just one night and the next day before making the final decision to leave. She reluctantly agreed. We knew there were many blessings to be had if she would just hang on a little longer.
After the participants were all snug in their beds, we borrowed a team member’s pickup truck, went to another part of the camp and liberated a recliner from one of the rooms. We wrestled that thing into the pickup and then wrestled it out of the pickup and into place at the table where the unhappy lady was sitting.She begrudgingly thanked us the next morning and reclined the rest of the day. But the thing that got to her the most was when she went to her room during a break that day. One of the team members had put a heating pad on her bed and turned it on. When she laid down and realized what had been done, she burst into tears and finally felt the Holy Spirit give her a hug through an ordinary heating pad. She knew she wasn’t lovable and yet she had been loved by the body of Christ.
I have never seen a woman’s face change so dramatically. I almost didn’t recognize her. Without the scowl, she looked completely different. No, not just different; she looked radiant.
If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation.
The old things have gone; everything is made new!
2 Corinthians 5:17