“One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” (2 Kings 4:8-10 NIV).
Last week, I traveled to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to visit the Peacemaker Family Center established by the Church on the Rise in 2011. Three years ago, I had visited them for the first time to discuss the possibility of the church opening a Peacemaker Family Center (PFC) and to conduct a site visit of their church and their proposed property in South Rocky Mount. The church was very enthusiastic about the opportunity of providing faith-based social services to their community with the PFC model. The property that they desired to purchase had been abandoned some years ago, was overgrown by weeds, overwhelmed by trash and vandalism, and surrounded by an economically depressed neighborhood. But the Church on the Rise had a vision. They had decided to make room for a miracle.
When I arrived at the Peacemaker Family Center building last Friday morning, 110 children from the neighborhood were eating breakfast at the Freedom Schools Summer Camp program. After breakfast, the kids and their 17 leaders came together in Harambee!, the morning assembly. I was their Read-A-Loud guest for the day.
Then, after some morning activities and lunch, we boarded the busses to travel to a nearby college.
At the college, we were thrilled to watch a youth drama camp’s final dress rehearsal of the musical “Mulan.” It was a great day.
On Sunday morning, the pastor asked me to share a few words of encouragement and I felt very strongly that the story of the Elisha and the woman from Shunem (1Kings 4:8-12) applied to their work to establish PFC in South Rocky Mount.
The woman from Shunem made room for a miracle in her life when she decided to build a room in her home for Elisha, God’s prophet. She could sense the presence of God in Elisha’s life and she desired for the presence of God to be in her home. When she made room, she created a space for a miracle to occur in her life. Not only did she receive the miracle of the birth of a son, later on that same son was raised from the dead after he died unexpectedly.
The Church on the Rise made room in South Rocky Mount for a miracle when they purchased the property and renovated the building. They did the work to become certified by the Children’s Defense Fund to provide a Freedom Schools Summer Camp program to neighborhood children. This summer, the children eat breakfast, lunch, and a snack every day, build their reading skills, go on field trips, and participate in many other enrichment activities. Seventeen people are employed, as well. Miracles are occurring every day.
Are you ready to make room in your life for a miracle? Here are five steps to making room for a miracle that I recognized through my involvement with the Church on the Rise for the last three years:
1. Recognize God’s presence,
2. Create a physical space,
3. Raise your expectations,
4. Exercise your faith, and
3. Release the results to God.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~ Thomas Edison