Jesus once talked about a man with 100 sheep. 1 sheep wandered away from the other 99 and the shepherd left the 99 to go after the 1. This story shows me how God will always seek us out and find us no matter the cost. This story reminds of our day in West Virginia where, I believe, we were sent 3 ½ hours to have church on the top of a mountain with some strangers.
Leading up to the launch of The Open Door Movement, we knew absolutely NOTHING about West Virginia. The only thing we knew was West Virginia was the home to some incredible looking scenery, specifically Seneca Rocks. We had seen video of this narrow segment of rocks sticking out of the top of this mountain (and looking insanely dangerous) and figured, “We gotta go there!”
So with no contacts or game plan, we made our way 3 ½ hours to Seneca Rocks to hike up the mountain, in hopes of walking on the rocks. What we didn’t realize until we got there is that you need rock climbing gear (and preferably a guide) to actually walk out to where we wanted to.
On the way up the mountain, we passed several hikers and simply exchanged basic pleasantries. I began to ask the Lord for an open door to meet one of these travelers and see what His plan was for this hike. At the top of the mountain we were met with signs warning of potential death if we decided to venture further.
At this point, maybe the average person would be bummed out: driving all this way and you couldn’t see what you were hoping to see in all its glory. BUT GOD always has a plan up his sleeve.
There was a lookout at the summit, and as we walked over check out the view, we met Alex and Margaret. I sat down to have a little quiet time with Jesus and journal about the trip. That’s when I began to pray about what Father God wanted to say these two strangers.
I used to say to God, “Lord, IF there’s anything you want to say to this person, give me the words to say.” But that’s not right. The correct thing to say isn’t IF but instead WHAT. “God, WHAT do you want to say to this person?” 2 reasons for this:
- First off, OF COURSE Father God has something to say! This is His child we’re talking about! And what Father doesn’t want to communicate to his children?
- And second, when we ask “if” instead, it almost plants a seed of doubt in you from the get-go or gives you an out; to give in to fear and choose to stay silent when God’s heart is for you to step out of your comfort zone.
Now, I’ll be sharing about “words” a lot most likely as I tell stories. God is still speaking all the time and Jeremiah 33:3 says “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come”. And prophecy, is speaking into the things that aren’t as if they already were. God speaks simple words to encourage and build up one another; speaking into who they are and who they will become. And majority of the time when I hear a word, I’ll admit it usually doesn’t make sense. But it doesn’t have to make sense to us. And typically as soon as we step out and begin sharing one meager word, Holy Spirit meets us in that place and gives us the rest of the words to share.
I felt like God told me something for each of the individuals and eventually they asked us to take a picture for them. This opened the door to begin conversation with them.
They were about to leave and I still hadn’t delivered the words to them. Finally I blurted out, “Hey can I share something with you guys?!” I told them how God spoke to me and wanted me to tell them something. I began to declare over Margaret how she was an “ocean pearl” and how God saw her as priceless. And then encouraged Alex in how he was “accepted just as he is”.
I continued to elaborate and ask our new friends if we could pray for them too. Afterwards they said, “You don’t know how crazy this is, that you’re sharing these things with us. We were literally just talking about God on the way up here and about encouraging others just like you all are doing right now!” We soon found out that they just began going to church a year ago and continued to speak so much life and encouragement over them.
SUPER FUN FACT: Before we left for West Virginia, Josh wanted to check out a town called “Pocahontas”. We joked about it and didn’t know if we would actually be able to hit up the town. WELL, we asked Alex and Margaret where they were from… OF COURSE: (OF ANY AREA THEY COULD’VE BEEN FROM) they were from an hour and a half away in a little county called: POCAHONTAS.
It’s funny how sometimes if we feel we are supposed to share something with somebody, there is always so much fear of how we will perceived or if the word you need to share is from God or if it’s all just you. You never know until you step out. What was the most encouraging thing was Margaret telling us, “This was the highlight of my day…this made my day”. A simple word: but a difference maker.
We continued to have church on top of this mountain (just a group of believers gathered together, sharing Jesus and spurring one another on). We prayed for our friends and parted ways soon after.
We may have traveled to Seneca with the intention of seeing these amazing rocks we’ve heard so much about, but now I know we were sent there to encourage some new believers on the top of the mountain and speak identity and truth into their lives. I honestly don’t even care we didn’t walk on the rocks. God’s words may have made their day, but this God moment made our entire trip to West Virginia worth it.
From now on when I think of West Virginia, the first thing I’m going to think about is our time with Alex and Margaret.