The Goodness of Jesus in the Face of Suffering by Ben McCoy

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Ben & David“Rural America Ministries?”

“What is that?”

Me: “ I’m not exactly sure, but it is going to be a great experience.”

That was a question that was brought up before and after our 30-day adventure into western Oklahoma. Personally, I was not aware what I was jumping into myself. I had never heard of a ministry like RAM. I had a couple of different opportunities to serve the Lord this summer. I was convinced that I would be an intern at a church, but God wanted to show me something different. It’s a beautiful thing to know that you are apart of something God constructed. There was such urgency for me to join the RAM team. God wanted me in western Oklahoma because it was out of my comfort zone. When we are uncomfortable the Spirit never fails to move. RAM has provided unique opportunities in the month we spent in rural America. One of the first opportunities was meeting a man named David.

Our group just finished some VBS set up and a gracious person was going to provide us lunch. I had a choice to make. I could ride with the rest of the RAM team in a squished car or ride with a complete stranger in a pick-up. I picked the stranger. This decision did not seem very significant at the time, but it was in God’s plan. David was a very kind man. He talked to me like there was so much joy in his life.  He was a true grandfather figure to me. As we pulled up to the restaurant, I realized that David was paralyzed from the waist down. I felt so dumb for not noticing before he got out of this car. It took a good amount of time to finally sit down in the restaurant. One team member asked if I wanted to take her seat and sit by David, which I gladly did. Something was pulling me to this man. David and I talked about life along with other things. We finished our meal and started back to the church building when I felt my heart starting to shake in my chest. David reminded me of Barnabas. The Bible tells us in Acts 11:24 that Barnabas was a good man. I needed to tell David (no longer a stranger) that he was a good man. I don’t know how many times I repeated it, but it was the truth. He was a good man and even with his paralyzed legs he still was joyous. This was inspiring to me. The Spirit was definitely showing me something. When I got out of his car and into mine, my heart did not stop moving. I broke down and cried in my car. I needed this moment from God; it was an interesting occurrence. Being around people who are disabled was not new to me. I have worked a couple of summers at a special needs camp. I kept saying,

“He is a good man Father, he does not deserve this pain.”

“He is such a good man.”

After crying, Jesus planted a thought into my head, “The good in him is from Me.”

It was such a powerful moment! Jesus was so right! (He is always right.  He’s Jesus).  This was such a wonderful reminder of the power of Jesus Christ in His people. The Spirit can allow people to be joyous even through pain and suffering. No wonder in James it speaks of considering it pure joy in trials and suffering. Jesus uses our pain and suffering to pull us into His arms. It is Almighty God’s design. If I did not follow the Spirit into RAM then I would not have had this beautiful reminder of our great God. I want to keep in contact with David and I plan on writing to him.

This is just one amazing opportunity I took part in while doing Rural America Ministries. Other opportunities included good-old fashion door knocking, jail ministry, and reaching out to strangers. Through these opportunities God has used RAM to ignite a fire in me that had been put out by the ways of the world. It’s truly magnificent how our team ignited embers of the churches and communities in western Oklahoma. God in return ignited fires in each of us. I can see how each team member has matured through this adventure.  God showed us true ministry to others. This adventure has motivated me to do some kind of ministry work with my career someday. I want to work more with jail ministries. Little did I know I would ever sit across from inmates and share Jesus with them. RAM showed me how there is such a need for people to visit people in small county jails. I love all the connections I have made through RAM. It has opened my spectrum of truth about Jesus and ministry.

I encourage you to pray for RAM and it’s future endeavors. This ministry is young, and clearly has so much potential. I can’t wait to see where this ministry will go. It is a ministry that is right under our nose. We can’t forget about our brothers and sisters in Nazareth.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

-John 1:46