Monday, December 16, 2013

Behind The Scenes

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
I Corinthians 15:58
(KJV)



Last night, tears filled my eyes, as the fires from a passion that was started long-ago
was stoked afresh inside the chambers of my heart.
We were doing school, and I was reading Zach's literature book aloud,
as we often do.
As I came to a certain sentence, something stirred within me....
something that has been shamefully covered over somewhat....
but a flame that still smolders under the sheets of ash.

I stopped and looked at Zachary.

"Zach, the statement I am about to read to you is 
probably one of the single-most powerful statements I have ever heard, 
and this very statement is probably the one that influenced my young spiritual life
more than any other.
I can still remember when I first heard it and the profound effect it had on me.
It lit a fire in me and gave me a zeal....a passion that is still there after all these years."

I so wanted him to get it.
To grasp the meaning.
To absorb it enough that I could see the same passion glow in his eyes...
that was ignited in me so long ago.

I watched him as I read the statement aloud.

He paused.
Gave it is whole-hearted attention.
Soon I saw it....
a reflection there that proved to me, without a doubt,
that the full impact had registered and done its work.


As I continued to read,
it turns out that I don't remember having ever heard of the man who originally made the statement,
but I sure have heard a lot about the man to whom the statement was made.
I falsely assumed he is the one who made it in the first place.

It turns out I was wrong.
It turns out that the statement was made in an obscure, little British prayer meeting,
in a parlor, by a man of whose name I was completely unfamiliar.

Henry Varley was the human instrument God used to utter the words.
They were spoken to none other than Dwight L. Moody.

"The world has yet to see what God can do 
with one man fully consecrated to Him."

That night, D L seized hold of a vision he had never before seen.
His whole ministry...every part of his life after that night...was entirely transformed.

If you ever have a chance to read any biographical book about D L Moody, 
I would highly recommend it.

The thing about this story that struck me most is that all this time,
all of these years....
since my youth and the moment I first read that statement,
I have falsely assumed that D L Moody is the one who said it.
Because probably just about everyone in the world has heard of D L Moody.
The man's spiritual shadow has been cast over every future generation since his life and death.
Chances are if you have mingled in Christian circles at all, you have heard of him.
And if you've heard of D L Moody, you have more than likely heard of 
the Moody Bible Institute, right?
(You can read all about it here.
Its history is quite an interesting story.)

But, have you heard of Emma Dryer, 
the woman who had the original burden to start a school to provide Biblical training
to the residents of Chicago after the Chicago Fire of 1871?
It was she who convinced Moody, with her unquenchable burden for souls,
to finally give in and make the decision to put his weight behind her burden.

Emma Dryer and Henry Varley weren't nearly as widely-known or as popular as D L Moody.
Chances are, you have never heard their names at all.
But, now that you know about them, 
can you see the impact for Christ that they made upon the world?
Not by being out on the front lines, like D L Moody was,
not by standing behind hundreds of pulpits, like D L Moody did,
not by preaching to 10,000 people at a time, like D L Moody preached,
by by quietly, in the shadows, behind the scenes, influencing D L Moody.

Do you see how it works?

Henry Varley and Emma Dryer, along with many others you will find in his life story,
had powerful influence and persuasion over him, 
and D L took the gifts they bestowed upon the shaping of his life
and carried them to the streets, the pulpits, other countries, and everywhere he went.

Because of Henry, D L caught sight of true consecration to God, 
which, in turn, renewed his mind, transformed his thinking, and completely redirected his entire life.

Because of Emma, D L captured the vision of the importance of training and influencing
every life possible to be sold-out, devoted, and willing to serve the cause of Jesus Christ.

How many lives have been entirely changed through the ministry of Dwight L. Moody?
Is there any way to count the souls saved from an eternity in Hell
or any means of measuring the weight of the impact this 
"one man wholly consecrated to God"
really had and continues to have on this nation...upon the world?

Did Henry....or Emma ever really comprehend what their part in this was?

Obscure, unsung heroes of the faith....
behind the scenes....
quiet, unseen, names unknown....
content to serve Jesus in the most humble way.
The mention of their names conjures no images of glamour or glory.
In fact, before reading this book, had you spoken of them to me,
I would have felt no admiration by the mere mention of their names. 

Now that I know the whole story, that has all changed...
and I am so enlightened to the impact of their personal role
in the amazing ministry and life of this great man of God.


Let's face it, there will be very few Dwight L. Moodys in this present world.
How I wish there were thousands!
Just like him.
Wholly, entirely, completely, with every fiber of their being,
consecrated to God.
Reserving nothing to self.
Willing to be used...in whatever means God chooses.
Pliable vessels in the Potter's hands.
Available.
Ready.
Unflinching...no matter what God requires.

Can you imagine?

The statement is still true...all of these years later.


"The world has yet to see what God can do 
with one man fully consecrated to Him."

Oh, how we need those who will consecrate!
Fully.
Without reservation.
Without greed.
Selfless.

What could this present world see?
Could things be turned around?

I love reading Acts 17:6.
"...they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, 
These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also..."

Did you catch that?

"These that have turned the world upside down."
Of whom did they speak?

Who were "these"?

Who turned the world upside down?
Who wielded that much influence?

"And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, 
 along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks 
and a number of the leading women."
Acts 17:4
(NASB)

I love that the women were mentioned here, also.
Even in this modern, "enlightened" day, the stigma towards women in ministry still remains.
It is ever alive and fueled to the point, that often, we, 
as women are left feeling powerless and incapable of doing anything at all for our Lord.
It is a subject that yields much controversy and confrontation among religious circles.
But, with our God, there is no controversy.

He still pours out His Spirit on His handmaidens.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, 
I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy...
And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; 
and they shall prophesy..."

Acts 2:17,18
(Emphasis added)

The words spoken here were the quoting of the Old Testament prophecy in Joel 2:28-29,
during a sermon being preached by none other than the Apostle Peter...
you know the one who vehemently denied he even knew Jesus just a short time before.
This was a different Peter.
A fully-consecrated-to-God Peter...
a filled-to-the-brim-with-the-power-and-authority-of-the-Holy-Spirit-of-God Peter.

Men...and women....turned the world upside down in the early days of the Church.
When we read of the ones who turned the world upside down,
we see few actual names recorded.
We see the names Paul and Silas and Jason....
but what about all of the ones behind the scenes?
Their names are not mentioned.
Just "a large number of the God-fearing Greeks 
and a number of the leading women."

Their role was important, if not as widely publicized or as individually respected.

The ones behind the scenes turned the world upside down....
by supporting and lending courage to the ones who were on the front lines of ministry.

Just like Henry Varley and Emma Dryer.
Their impact was every bit as regarded by God as that of Paul, Silas, Jason, and D L Moody.

Because they were faithful...at their post of duty.
They didn't throw up their hands in total defeat and stop trying,
just because they couldn't be "out there" like Paul.

Henry Varley wasn't trying to impress anyone.
He was simply minding God, holding regular prayer meetings in his obscure home.

Emma Dryer didn't set out to make a name for herself.
She just had a genuine, burning vision of the need for more laborers in God's vineyard.
She saw the white fields, the desperate necessity to instill the Bible into the hopeless.
And she did something about it.
She didn't have the resources or the clout to make it happen...on her own.
But, she went to the man of God who possessed such capability, and she was persistent.
D L Moody was not interested, at first.
Did you know that?
He turned her down.
More than once.
She didn't let up.
Every time she saw him, she bombarded him with her burden until, at long last,
he actually caught sight of it, he relented, put his endorsement upon it,
and threw every bit of his weight behind it.

With his name attached to her vision, things happened.
The vision...Emma's vision....still thrives at 820 N. LaSalle Blvd. in Chicago, IL.

Did she have any idea how wide-spread the impact would ever be?
Did Henry Varley, when he spoke those anointed words in that little prayer meeting,
have even an inkling of the magnitude of the fire it would kindle in the heart of D L Moody?

Could he have ever imagined how they would one day touch the very core of a young girl in southern OH,
spurring her to resign and surrender entirely to the will of God for her life?
She may never reach the heights of D L Moody...probably no where near.
Her name may never be known....except to a few.
But, each day, she is raising a sweet, beyond precious boy, 
for whom God especially and specifically and temporarily opened her womb,
and she is pouring her heart into his life every, single day,
teaching him about Jesus Christ and hoping to ignite a spark of passion for His cause in his young heart.
She read Henry's words to him, and she saw the reflection of understanding in his eyes.
Who knows where or how or to what capacity that seed will grow?


The Apostle Paul wasn't always preaching on Mars Hill in plain view.
He wasn't always establishing churches.
He wasn't always in the midst of delivering fiery sermons.
Much of his ministry was spent writing God's message...
alone, imprisoned, out of sight, without fanfare...
away from the limelight, removed from the busyness.
completely and entirely behind the scenes.
Did he have any idea when he was writing those letters....
to the Christians at Corinth, Galatia, Rome, Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica, Philippi,
and the individual letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon....
did the Apostle Paul have any earthly idea that those very letters would be among 
the most widely-published written words ever?
That they would become an integral part of the very Book upon which lives are built...solely and entirely?
That people all over the world for generations to come would read them diligently,
analyze them thoroughly, dissect them utterly, and cling to them for dear life?
That his letters....the fruit of his anointed and inspired writing....
would have such far-reaching, all-encompassing, profound effect upon souls whose number is so vast
that it would be humanly impossible to count?
That his "behind-the-scenes" work would so far surpass his "front-line" work 
that the difference in the two would be mortally immeasurable? 

To him, were they just merely letters?
Just a means of keeping in touch and contact with the souls he loved and had poured his heart into?
Could he have had any idea...that one day those very words...
penned, at times, from dark, dank prison cells, surrounded by persecution and gloom...
would one day be a major component of what we now call our Bible?
Could he have even comprehended his impact on the future world?
(Click here to read more.)

You may view your life as small...unimportant...bleak....unnecessary.
Mothers, I speak to you.
Yes, you.
Those who have been led off the beaten path....
careers cast aside....
dreams simmering ever-so-distantly on the back burner....
light of hope dimming, barely gleaming in sleep-deprived eyes....
tired, strength-diminished, jaded, identity lost in the shuffle....
your work mundane.
Your life on hold.
Your waist inflated.
Your face unseen by the masses, unrecognizable, imperfect.
Your mission behind the scenes.

But, oh the importance!
Oh, the value!
If only you could see!
If only the curtain could be peeled...ever-so-slightly...
and you could take a small peek...into the tomorrows.

You, my precious friend, yes you!
You are preparing a soul for eternity.
You are pouring yourself...literally...into a life that will one day leave you to impact the world.
You, my beautiful, dear friend, you are every moment tossing pebbles into the vast sea of a life
that will reverberate and ripple and echo through the chambers of the mind you now mold.
You hold the most precious of all challenges...right there...in your arms,
in your hands, in your grasp, in your home.
Do you see it?
Your daily work....
you know, the monotonous,
the wiping of noses,
the teaching of lessons,
the drying of tears,
the folding of clothes,
the kissing of boo-boos,
the binding of broken hearts,
the soothing of bad dreams,
the healing of wounded emotions....
oh, my dear, sweet friend...this....
this work of yours could not be more noble...
or vital...
or of the essence.

Every touch of your hand leaves an indelible fingerprint in its wake.
Every denied selfish endeavor finds a spot of record in Heaven...
and in the memory of that little boy or girl.


Who knows where the road will lead them?
Every moment spent nurturing and holding them close,
is deepening the bond they will so desperately need
and strengthening the security with which they will walk through life.

In her biography of Susannah Wesley, mother of sons, John and Charles Wesley, 
Susan Pellowe penned this...
"…although she never preached a sermon or published a book or founded a church, 
 (she) is known as the Mother of Methodism. 
Why? 
Because two of her sons, John Wesley and Charles Wesley
as children consciously or unconsciously will, 
applied the example and teachings and circumstances of their home life.”

Susannah Wesley's life was filled with hardship, 
yet, she continually and persistently poured her very self
into the hearts and lives of her children.

Just like you do....every day of your life.
Behind the scenes, yet so overwhelmingly, direly important.
You are turning someone's world upside down.
You are setting a life on the right course.
Your name may never be widely-known.
Your work may never receive world-wide acclaim or fanfare.
But, nothing in the world could ever be more important than what you do every, single day.
You matter.
Everything you do matters....more than you will ever comprehend.

Don't ever forget it.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post tonight, wishing you a peaceful christmas and blessings for the new year.
    sue

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind, Sue! God's peace be with you and yours at this Christmas season! Love, Cheryl

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  2. Thanks sister for your awakening and inspiring sharing of God's words. You too can write a book and impact many. Your words reaches to the hearts.
    It is an encouragement to me to continue what I am doing and God will do the rest:)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Joy! As God leads, I would love to write a book and compile some of the devotionals and whatever else God chose to put in there! Maybe one day. In the meantime, thank you for being such a wonderful support and encouragement to me. You are such a blessing. Love, Cheryl

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