This was originally posted on 12/8/2011. I no longer work at the church where this took place, since I retired this year, and I believe the group "BarlowGirl" no longer exists, but the message of this post and the songs that were sung are still so relevant today. Be sure to click on the links for the songs to get the full message of this post. I still think of those girls who were at the concert...and I wonder where they are today. They would be four years older, so possibly out on their own. Lord, I pray for these young women tonight. You know where they are. I pray that You are still reaching down to them...and that perhaps they have reached up to You and have found "The Light Has Come"...May they place their hands in Yours and know that true love that only You can give. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Original Post from 2011:
Isaiah 40:6 says, "The voice said, 'Cry out!' and he (I) said, 'What shall I cry?'"
Isaiah 40:3 says, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
Last night I attended a BarlowGirl concert at the church where I currently am employed. Actually, I was there as a volunteer, working at the merchandise table for the BarlowGirls. I was enjoying the concert from a little bit of a distance, watching through the sanctuary doors. The music was inspiring...the BarlowGirls are a unique blend of beauty and superb talent, with a seriously powerful message for today's generation. However, there was something equally interesting happening in the lobby area where I was tending the "merch", as our youth pastor teasingly called it.
One of the charitable organizations that our church supports is a ministry to teen girls at risk. As a part of the outreach for this concert, girls from this group were invited to attend the concert at no charge. Several of these young ladies did attend, but from their appearance and actions it was apparent to me that they were really not too interested in the concert. They kept coming out into the lobby and going from door to door and up into the balcony, supposedly looking for their "friends". A couple of the girls came to my table, admiring the many articles for sale. At first I was not aware of who these girls were, or where they had come from. But I couldn't help but notice by their shabby attire and obvious piercings and numerous cuttings on their bare arms that they were troubled youth. One particular girl hung around beside me for a few minutes making small talk and saying how much she liked the concert (which she had not sat down to watch for more than five minutes), and that she liked the music, but she'd never heard of them before, and had never been to our church before. She also told me that she would like to buy something but she had given all her money to a homeless person out on the street before she came in because they needed it more than her. Somehow I didn't quite believe her...it seemed to me that she was embarassed that she really didn't have any money and it sounded good to say that she had done something so noble with her money. She told me that her counselor had invited her to come to the concert, and she was glad that she did. Then her "friends" came and grabbed her and they decided to leave out the front door of the church, and I never saw them come back in.
As I continued to listen to the music, I could hear the lyrics to so many songs that I wished these girls could have heard. It grieved me that the very ones who needed this hope and love so much were the ones who just refused to listen. I felt burdened and sad that I was not able to point them in the right direction. I comforted myself with the fact that I had at least been kind and listened, and I had encouraged them to go back in and find a seat to listen to the music several times...but they just could not surrender to that calling yet. Maybe another day...I pray...they will get another chance to draw near to God and hear Him beckoning to them. Right now they are the ones who are crying out with their very actions that they "need God to love them"...but they don't realize that is what is happening. God is indeed calling...seeds are being planted in their hearts (I pray)... "I Need You to Love Me" (BarlowGirl) (click on link for song)
One of the T-Shirts being sold at the "merch" table had the following saying written on it: "Be a Voice, Not an Echo"... I like that thought..."Be a Voice"...What shall I cry out? Isaiah 40:6-8 says,
"All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the our God stands forever."
Isaiah goes on to say in verse 11:
"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young."
Perhaps God will indeed gather these "lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom." That is my prayer for the girls with the shabby attire, the obvious piercings and the numerous cuttings on their bare arms tonight. God knows who they are and where they are right now...and I believe because they have been brought near His light...His light will continue to shine on them and lead them safely home.
"Hallelujah-Light Has Come" (BarlowGirl) (click on link for song)