Believe It or NotMarch 13th, 2020
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Though Night to Shine has always been, and will always be, a night centered on God’s love, it has also always been an event open to all, regardless of individual beliefs or faith.
A volunteer from Celebration Community Church in Hays, Kansas, recently shared this story with us regarding an interaction he had with an honored guest at this year’s Night to Shine, and we thought it beautifully served as not only a representation of God’s willingness to meet each of us exactly where we are, but also of His unrelenting love that stops at nothing until we are His.
“At the end of the night, I had a male guest ask me if he could speak privately to me. I responded with ‘absolutely’ and led him to a corner of the room where few people were present. When I asked him what was going on, he responded with, ‘I don’t feel worthy of this. I don’t feel like these people can love me for who I am. I don’t feel like this should have really been meant for me.’
I told him that every single volunteer – all 500 of them - in this room came here for no other reason than they love the people in this room, including him. I told him we came to show each every guest God’s love for them, because we wanted to, because we believe it really is that important.
He then told me that he was an atheist and because of that, he felt he didn’t deserve this kind of love or attention.
But the thing is, I was an atheist too, for most of my life. God saved me just eight years ago. I looked at this young man right in the eyes and told him, ‘So was I. I was just like you, for many years.’
His shock was evident, but then he asked me what changed. And I told him the answer was simple. For many, many years, I had a lot of people praying for me, and a lot of people showing me the love of God simply in how they loved me.
He responded with, ‘I still can’t believe I deserve all of this without believing in God.’
And so once again, I told him, ‘Whether you’re an atheist or not, we love you for who you are. What you believe does not change how we feel about you today or tomorrow. But I will tell you this – I am going to pray for you every single day! And every time I see you, I am going to tell you not only how much I love you, but how much God loves you!’”
Will you join us in praying for this young man? For this volunteer who has been faithful to love the person God placed in front of him? For all of our honored guests who may not know Jesus on a personal level? At the end of the day, this is our ultimate goal. Yes, we would love to see Night to Shine celebrated in every single country on this earth. And yes, we dream of a world where people with special needs are treated with the same respect and consideration many of us have never had to fight for. But more than anything, we want each and every person involved with Night to Shine to come to personally know the very One Who is the entire reason for this special evening.
And may the actions of this volunteer serve as a reminder of why we do what we do in the first place. We love because He first loved us. It really is that simple.