When I get down and think our work in vain, and not worth the struggle, it helps to reflect back on the amazing things God has done in our past. The God of yesterday's victories is the same today, and forever. So let us rejoice and be glad in Him. Our toil and labor are NOT IN VAIN!
I remember being invited one afternoon to a party. The occasion was to celebrate the baptisms of several new believers in one of the new Guayaquil house churches. This particular house church is made up mostly of rough street kids: ex-gang members, former drug addicts, and kids from dysfunctional families. I had attended their baptisms a few days earlier, but now they just wanted to get together and have a party to celebrate--and celebrate they did!
Just before dark, about 20 of us gathered out under an open patio and had a time of singing and sharing with one another. People spoke out freely testifying what Jesus meant to them. 2-3 spoke words from the Scripture. Those who had been recently baptized were called up one by one and given baptism certificates. Photos were taken, hugs were given, and as each received his certificate everyone clapped and cheered for the person who had now become their new brother and sister in Christ.
This was followed by the first Lord's Supper for most of those present. Ritz crackers and local brand Kool-Aid did nothing to detract from the solemnity of the occasion. Many knelt on the ground in prayer. Several had tears in their eyes. What got to me though, was what happened next.
It began to rain.
There was no shelter except for a tiny piece of tin that only 3-4 could stand under (I was one of them!) Instead of the rain spoiling the party, the CD boombox volume was turned up to MAX. Two of the younger men began to dance in the rain. They were soon joined by a couple of others. Everyone was soaked by then, but who cared? There they were, splashing around in the pouring rain with the rest of us clapping and cheering them on. Laughter and singing was on the lips of everyone as the dancers stretched and jumped and twirled on the ground to the beat of the music. Nothing was going to spoil their party and the joy they had in the Lord!
At first my conservative upbringing caused me to recoil at such indecency going on--in church! But these were new believers, most only a few weeks old in their faith. What they were doing was expressing their uninhibited joy and new found love of the Lord. It seemed totally inappropriate to do anything but worship with them! Didn't Jesus himself say that there is more rejoicing in heaven over ONE SINNER who repents than ninety-nine righteous? After a few moments it dawned on me that no one was more pleased than Jesus Himself! He is the very One who had come to earth and given his life in ransom for these very kids who were now celebrating his atonement. Why not laugh, shout, clap, and dance in the rain?