June 24, 2022
Friday, June 24, 2022 was going to be a pretty normal day for me. I would be working during the day and that evening I would go to church for Vacation Bible School. Several weeks before our Assistant Pastor asked me to teach the Bible lesson that night. The lesson was "God Comforts Elijah" from I Kings 19:1-18. That Friday I was prepared to teach. I had sent in my illustrations to be added to the night's slide presentation, but I was struggling with how to introduce the lesson so it was relevant to the kids. I was praying that God would give me some ideas before that evening.
Around 10:30 am I received a call from Jeff telling me he would be seeing his parole officer after lunch. We were both excited as Jeff would be getting his release date at this meeting. I had received a text from my attorney asking to talk to me earlier that morning. I mentioned to Jeff that I had scheduled a phone call with her for 3 pm.
That afternoon as I was cleaning my second house Jeff called me. He had received his answer from the parole board, and he had to stay another three years. That was tough to swallow for both of us as we had been praying and hoping for a much sooner release date. I couldn't break down as my husband desperately need encouragement in that moment and not tears. I took a deep breath and told Jeff that we would get through this together with the Lord's help. I did shed tears once Jeff hung up the phone. I got through the rest of my work day repeating, "God you know what you are doing, and it's going to be for our good. We are just going to trust You."
Later that afternoon as I prepared for my attorney's call I still hadn't figured out the introduction for my Bible lesson. As I was talking to my attorney I mentioned Jeff's release date and she said, "Joy, I'm so sorry, but I have to give you more bad news!" She went on to tell me that on Monday she would no longer be my attorney as she was dropping my case because there was no way I could win the appeal to keep our children. She told me I just needed to let my kids go, so they could be adopted. My heart was crushed!
I needed to teach a Bible lesson in a few hours and I couldn't stop crying. Then I realized that God had just given me the perfect introduction for the lesson. By now I'm in the car on my way to church crying and asking God, "Why me? I don't want to go through this heartbreak so I can share something with these children tonight." Several months ago Spotify had recommended a song called "Amazing God" based on the music I listened to. As I was crying, the phrase, "I still serve an amazing God," kept running through my mind.
I had about an hour drive to get to church, and Satan was throwing out obstacles to keep me from teaching that night. Traffic was at a standstill on two separate routes I tried to take, so I had to turn around and go the third route which was longer. I was almost sideswiped several times on the highway. I called my Pastor's wife and shared my day with her. She told me I could stay home not realizing I was scheduled to teach the Bible lesson that night. I continued on my way begging God to help me. I couldn't teach this lesson, and I asked God to do it through me.
I got to church and sat on the back pew of the auditorium asking God to help me. I didn't talk to anyone as I knew if I told others about my day I would totally loose it. It was finally time for the lesson. I calmly walked to the front of the church. I had my Bible in one hand and the slide show button in the other. I stood on the platform, looked out at the children, and asked, "Have you ever been so excited about something, and then something bad happens that really discourages you? This happened to me today. I was so excited to come to VBS tonight and share this lesson with you. But earlier today I got a phone call. It was bad news, and I was so discouraged that I didn't want to come tonight. Later today I got a second phone call, and it was worse than the first one. It was really bad news. Now I just wanted to curl up in my bed and never get up. Then I remembered our memory verse for tonight: Psalm 120:1 that says, 'In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.' So I cried out to God, and He helped me come tonight. Our lesson tonight is about a man named Elijah, who had a similar experience."
I then began with the amazing victory God had given Elijah on Mt. Carmel only for Elijah to end in a deep depression because Queen Jezebel ordered him to be killed. I honestly don't remember anything else I said as God took over and put the right words in my mouth. I was clicking through the visuals at the right moments without realizing what I was doing. The next thing I knew I was giving the invitation. I sat down when I finished, and all I could do was thank the Lord. When I was at one of my weakest moments, God took over and gave me the strength to do what seemed impossible that night.
This wasn't the end to my day. When I got home that night I found out that I needed to find another place to live as the house where I was living was going to be sold ASAP. More bad news, and yet I was at peace as I knew God would work things out as He had done earlier that day. I'm so thankful that I still serve an amazing God!
AMAZING GOD by Triumphant Quartet
You want to hear the story
Of how I made it through
When life is full of trouble, pain, and fear
The answer may sound simple
Though everything else crumbles
One thing has remained through all the years
Chorus: I still serve an amazing God
He's been with me every mile my weary feet have trod
He still cares, He still hears
He's still mending broken hearts and drying tears.
This ol' world is bound to change
But I'm glad I know the one who always stays the same
And my song will ever be
Amazing God you're still amazing me
The God who parted waters
Still makes a way today
He's always brought me through the troubled seas
The One who fed the thousands
Whose words could calm the tempest
He's my bread of life and He's my peace