I still remember the evening when I was supposed to lead my first Bible Discussion. Every evening someone organizes a Bible Discussion where guests are welcome to join. Now it was my turn to lead it all.
I prayed and prayed for wisdom and Gods guidance to choose the right passage. I decided to take the parable of the Prodigal son. Before inviting the guests to join us, we prayed together for God’s presence and blessing upon the evening. They prayed that God spoke through me and for peace, as I was not very experienced at this.
People from all over the world joined
The group that joined the Bible discussion was, like most time, very diverse. One girl was a student from Germany. I later found out that for a long time, she had been suicidally depressed. Another girl was an exchange student from Korea. There was also this very special older man from Albania, who had previously stayed in our hostel for a longer time before. He was completely traumatized by the war and other grievous experiences. As a result of all these sorrows he’d faced, he was very skeptical and incapable to laugh.
What happened next
We read the story of the prodigal son together, and God lead people to begin to open up. The Korean girl shared that she felt burdened by trying to live up to her parents expectations. We could share with her that God is a different Father, unconditionally loving and never disappointed with you.
Then suddenly the German girl broke down. She began to share that her father never showed interest in her after he divorced her mother. She had tried but was unable to ignore or remove the thoughts that she was unlovable and not worthy of her father’s love. Finally the man from Albania began to cry and shared how he had lost his only son, and how much sorrow it caused him.
What did I know about it, as an 18-year old girl?
All these lives with all this brokenness. What did I know about it, as an 18-years old girl with a great childhood? What could I ever say to comfort these people? But God gave me the words. My lack of knowing and understanding, made me point to my Heavenly Father, who completely understands. HE knows what it means to lose his only Son, and Jesus knows what it is to be separated from his Father! God completely understands, even if we have no clue!
God was so present
This Bible discussion was not what I planned it to be. It wasn’t very structured, and we didn’t go through all the questions I prepared. However God answered our prayers. He was so present within this discussion and it was such a blessed time! I didn’t have all the answers, but God taught me that he Himself is the answer to everything. I was so encouraged and grateful to see that God gives the right words when you need them. That he equips you to do the work he has called you to do.
A few weeks later
A few weeks later, this Albanian man started to smile and sometimes even laugh! We watched a part of the Alpha-course together. He was so eager to learn, and was happy like a child with every new discovery. The pain was still there, he still had many sleepless nights, but his healing process had begun.
Truly, ‘God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ – Psalm 147:3
He prolonged and prolonged his stay with us, staying with us for more than 6 weeks. After joining many bible discussions, dinners with the staff and having many deep conversations, he left. I never heard from him again. I hope I will see him again one day, when all his tears will be wiped away.
‘Then there will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’