A Midnight Encounter

It was June of 2009 in Gentry, Arkansas. I came back from another night of preaching at one of the local churches. Wait, me preaching? One of my friends from college convinced me to sign up to join ShareHim, a ministry where pastors and young adults are assigned to a church and preach evangelistic series using customizable ShareHim sermons. I wished I had known the details of what I had signed up for before I made it to Arkansas with the rest of the group.

To my surprise, due to some schedule arrangements, there was only one assigned church that was going to kick off the meetings earlier than the other churches and that church happened to be the one I was assigned to preach for the following two weeks. There was no previous notice of the schedule until the next day we arrived at the location where some of us stayed and where we were going to meet every day to debrief and have devotionals.

Out of the mission team, I was probably one of the very few that had not preached before. So, one night, as I was getting ready for the next night's meeting, instead of trying to get some rest from the evangelistic meeting that night, I opened my Bible and began to look at different Bible passages that were going to be associated with the topic for the next day.

Time seemed to stop for me after I opened my Bible and one text led me to another text, then to another one until I had a knock on my door. A college friend who was staying at the same place where I stayed for two weeks, knocked on my door and asked me if I was okay because she saw the lights on under the bathroom door we were sharing, and she wondered if I was okay because it was four o’clock in the morning and I should have been asleep at that time. I responded to her and opened the door to let her know that I was okay, but as soon as I told her that I was reading and she noticed I had the Bible open, she wondered even more if I was okay. Why would I be reading the Bible at that time anyway? My friend didn’t seem convinced of what I was doing, so she turned around and went back to her room, while I continued my reading.

Even though I grew up as Christian and went to church, my life was getting away from God at the same time I had said yes to be part of this ShareHim mission trip. I would be lying if I said that I went to this mission trip with the evangelistic mindset at the beginning, however, I didn’t know that God was doing something special in my life that when I recognized it, it came almost as a surprise.

Are you familiar with the story of the Jewish religious leader who met with Jesus and had a one-on-one with him one night? The Bible doesn’t keep record of how long this conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus must have gone, but I can almost imagine it was a long one. That midnight in Arkansas, I stayed up until dawn came because I had an encounter with Jesus, like I had not had before. Reading the Bible that night brought life back to me. I fell in love with His word for the first time and a new journey began for me. All I desired after that midnight encounter was getting to know Jesus, and I hope and pray that desire doesn’t leave me. -  Liz Marin

Related Information

Chapel Oaks Blog