Went to church last Sunday (yesterday) and had an interesting experience.
Chip Ingram led the charge, and gave us a heads up that this session would be a little different. He opened with the typical discussion in which we right "notes" or fill in our sheet of paper they hand us when we walk in. But the sheet was only a double-sided piece instead of a 4 page brochure like usual. Chip said the discussion portion of the session would be shorter today and he was going to try something a little different at the end.
The discussion itself was about... uh. It's Monday morning at 8:34am. Not a good time for my memory. I'm a visual learner with emphasis on memory images so when i try to remember I actually visualize the piece of paper and what I wrote on it. It was basically 5 Main Principles of Life on one side and 4 Ways to Handle/Manage Life on the other.
After the discussion Chip said that several individuals and friends that he knew were suffering from cancer or had recently been diagnosed. So he wanted to do a special prayer session. He asked that anyone who was either suffering from cancer or knew someone who was suffering from cancer please stand up. "If you know someone with cancer you can stand in their place and God will know who you are standing for."
This was a challenge for me.
First off, Gabby the teen girl I know was diagnosed with cancer 3 or 4 months ago and has recently started undergoing radiation treatment. I have met Gabby a couple times, but don't know her that well so it was kind of hard for me to feel like I should step in for her since I didn't really know her.
Secondly, it's embarrassing standing up in front of a crowd of random strangers alone. Period.
So as I sat there watching people slowly rise in their spots, I initially thought, "I know me. Me is not going to stand. I've been in situations like this before in the past and I haven't stood. It isn't my place and even if it was I'd be too scared to."
But then I looked around at the other people who were standing and I immediately felt compelled to stand up. So I bit the bullet and stood up and thought to myself, "I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing this for Gabby. I'll do this for Gabby."
Then Chip looked around and said, "If you're sitting down but someone is standing up next to you and they're kind of alone would you please stand up beside them and maybe place your hand on their shoulder so they really know they're not alone." And this woman who was sitting in front of me stood up and started rubbing my shoulder and letting me know she was supporting me in that moment. I started tearing up -which I did not see coming.
Then Chip did a prayer for everyone and asked God to help those who were being stood for. Then he said we could all sit back down. I felt kind of proud afterwards and really believe that it will do good. Somehow what I did will find its way back to Gabby in one way or another.
I've never felt so compelled to stand up for, support, or pray for another person -especially one I didn't know that well. It just kind of seemed to be meant to be in some ways.