Your Inner Man (or in our case) Woman!
Tonight, I met a woman who truly is a Christian woman of influence. By outward appearance she may seem ordinary, but her love for the Lord is so moving at times you find yourself with tears in your eyes. I want to tell you a bit about her story. For weeks I’ve been hearing her husband rave about her. He spoke of her with such praise and honor I couldn’t help but imagine what she looked like. I bet she wore the most fashionable clothing; her make-up was just perfect I assumed. She would be elegant I thought. Then I met her. She wasn’t anything like I’d imagined in appearance. Her style was simplistic and modest. She was small and meek, but her impact was big. Her bravery spoke volumes to me. She spoke tonight in front of a crowd of women with such vulnerability and grace I was blown away. She was the introvert in her marriage - more of a behind the scenes kind of gal. Yet she owned the stage as if she was sitting beside you having coffee. She openly admitted a few times she would get emotional as the Lord laid special things on her heart to share and share, she did.
She began the evening by telling us a story you couldn’t help but be glued to. Her message was focused on the workings of the inner man. We don’t often consider the inner man. We focus on what we can see. The clothes we wear, make up on our face, maybe our skin needs a pick me up? As we age things begin to remind us and we work harder to “fix” them back to their youthful splendor. But, often it’s in vain isn’t it? We can’t fix everything no matter how hard we try yet how often are we working on our inner person? The one thing that will really travel with us to heaven. The inner most part of our hearts that only God and ourselves know. That was the area she wanted us to remember as she told the story.
Her husband and her had been privileged many years ago to attend a mission's conference/retreat of some sorts in Argentina. They were to accompany a famous Argentinian evangelist as he did revival meetings. He was known for helping many know Christ- probably similar to our Billy Graham in the States. The honor was so wonderful they couldn’t refuse the trip. So, they arrived in Argentina. It was some time into the trip that the evangelist received an invitation he couldn’t resist. He then told the group of people (15 total- the woman and her husband included) that they would be allowed to accompany him, but they had to bring nothing but their passports, dress incredibly modestly and arrive the next morning at 9 a.m. he could not give them any more details aside from the fact it would be an experience unlike any other and may not ever be presented again. Her husband and her agreed with anticipation at what possibly would occur. They arrived the next morning and the lady commented about how frustrated her husband seemed as the van to pick them up was an hour late. When it finally arrived they were told they would now go on a two hour drive to the unknown. What an adventure they must have felt! That adventure quickly turned to nervousness as the bus ride was in many ways horrendous. There was not a public toilet but rather people had used the bus itself to relieve themselves. The stench of urine in addition to stale cigarettes was putrid. They soon arrived at the mysterious event. Two armed guards quickly took over the bus searching every one over in every possible way, turning the bus upside down to check for at this point no one knew but they were looking. Suddenly they realized why as the bus eased pass the entry into a sight unlike anything they had imagined.
Confusion must have swept through her mind as well as the other members on the bus that day. They were sitting in front of Argentinas worst known maximum-security prison. This prison was so bad that the Argentinian government had washed its hands of the place. The countries worst known murderers, rapists, mobsters, drug lords you name it they were there. Peculiar enough was the building itself. It wreaked of sewage which was indeed seeping from the 4th and 5th floor. Where windows once were was broken glass in which inmates were hanging out yelling and screaming vile comments and making the most bizarre animal noises. As the pastor’s wife explained she later learned these noises were actually coming from the 4th floor which had been known as the elephant floor as the floor was a satanic church and practiced human sacrifice and other demonic activities. Ironically, we later learned the entire prison at one point had been a center for satan, but it wasn’t until a local pastor felt a calling on his life to minister here that things began to change. When he was refused entry by the Argentinian government, he then became a prison guard and began ministering to the prisoners.
Sometimes I feel like the calling on my life is tough, but alive it’s nothing compared to this! Anyhow at this point in the story the lady makes her way into the building and is taken to a series of holding rooms with her husband and then suddenly the men and women are split up and taken into two different rooms. The fear that entered her heart must have been so extreme. What followed next would be unlike anything she expected. Soon after being separated she found herself along with the other woman in a cement room, with a cement ceiling and cement seats. The cement seats divide the women from their spouses on the opposite side of the room. Suddenly two doors opened and the woman watched in fear as 300 prisoners without any type of restraints entered the room. They each quietly took a seat on the cement benches. She then watched as they were escorted by ten guards. She noted that not a single guard was even carrying a firearm. Thoughts of fear and this being the end began to invade her heart. The inevitable was here. These men would cause a riot, over power the guards then over power the husbands killing them as well then turn to the women doing who knows what to each woman before they too were killed. Bracing herself for her last day on earth she suddenly heard the voice of a pastor and realized the men were believers!
Not only were they fellow Christians but they were going to lead a church service for the 15 guests there visiting! What shock that must have been. After worship and testimonies, the men were encouraged to move about freely around the room and pray over the 15 guests as they felt led to do. At times she noted how some of them were literally in tears praying for her. They openly shared how thankful they were to the Lord for his goodness to them. The reality of their circumstances was beyond baffling until she suddenly remembered the words of the Apostle Paul while he was in prison. He had faced numerous hardships up until this point and was currently shackled to the ground in a prison for spreading the gospel yet he was SINGING! She said there was an eerie similarity here as these men were remorseful for their choices over life, but beyond grateful to Jesus. That inevitably they would die here, yet they were joyful! Their inner man had been changed.
So, how’s your inner man or should I say woman? Does she get spruced up as often as your wand robe. Are there areas the Holy Spirit has been trying to work on and you are resisting? The pastor’s wife ended her story by saying that the reminder in that horrendous prison caused her to evaluate her inner man so deeply she began to rethink her relationship with the Lord. She began to take Him more seriously at His word. To spend more time with Him. Even in spurts throughout the day. It’s easy to bypass God when our lives are busy, but the more you spend time with the Lord the better you will be able to handle the storms of this life. The storms will come God’s Word tells us this. She concluded by saying this experience drew her much closer to the Lord and in many ways, she feels it was exactly what she needed to help her weather the storm of heartache she would face in the very near future with the sudden death of her oldest son.
I hope you gals feel a touch of encouragement today! Praying for you.