I recently went on a trip with the Refuge team to Las Vegas. Some of our team members were running in a half marathon to support the ministry, some of us would attend meetings with various churches and contacts in the area. In preparation for this adventure, it became clear that each team member was coming with expectations for God to move in some way or another. We were all searching for some sort of revelation, some direction on what our next “leap of faith” should be. I was no exception to this. I had been anticipating this trip for months and wasn’t entirely certain what God was going to show me or have me do.
As soon as I got on the plane, I felt uncomfortable. I watched as people quickly lost inhibitions, responsibilities and identities, eagerly anticipating the place where anything goes and “what happens here stays here.” I arrived in the city and as I saw sign after sign of graphic sexual images, I quickly understood why the nickname “Sin City” was so fitting. It was happening so quickly, my heart breaking for this city. This was not judgment, I was sad. I saw the lights, the extravagant hotels, restaurants and casinos and all I could think was, “This is a lie, it’s all deception.” None of it was glamorous.
Thankfully, God did not keep me overwhelmed and discouraged. It became clear that each person we met with was a divine appointment. It seemed everyone had a heart for helping women know they are loved and valued. Not just an interest but also a passion, a mission! God is working in Las Vegas; He is taking back His land and there are a great number of people who have joined Him. As I listened to a song called “You Have Won Me,” God gave me an image of women rescued from the sex industry, singing with hands in the air that Jesus won them. Even against the powerful dark forces that reign in Vegas, Jesus is victor and He will draw His children to Him!
It was Sunday and the meetings had all passed, our focus had shifted a bit to the half marathon that would take place in a few hours. I listened to a devotion that morning lead by one of our teammates. She spoke of what running meant for her: perseverance, endurance, overcoming adversity. I began to think about what some of our team had overcome to be at this race; what obstacles they had faced and even obstacles I’ve overcome in my journey. Although I had not trained this race, I really felt lead to start the race with everyone. My intentions were to run maybe a mile, “just start with everyone to show your support,” was my idea. Another team member had not trained either and she graciously decided to show her support as well and stick with me. This seemed a little crazy considering neither of us had run in months, but hey, you can’t ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, right? Well, as we spoke prayers for Refuge, for endurance and for the city to keep us motivated, one mile turned into 4, into 6, 8, 10, 12 and finally we hobbled over the finished line after mile 13.1.
God did in fact use this race to teach me a lesson in perseverance. He reminded me that when life is really hard, or I am ready for the current season of life to pass and a new one to start, sometimes I just have to keep on going. Sometimes when everyone around me seems to be effortlessly floating through life and I am trudging on, I have to stay committed, stay focused on the goal and trust that He will never abandon me. He reminded me that I will not always feel completely prepared for what He calls me to do, but again, I know He is holding my right hand through it all. I came on this trip with great expectation, and God delivered in greater ways than I could have imagined!
Written by: Dana (Team Refuge)