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Joni and Friends Blog

God Specializes in Doing Something New Under the Sun

Honestly, it happens every time…

How can God possibly do something “new under the sun” at yet another Family Retreat?! Ken and I recently came home from the Mission Springs Family Retreat, and we were wide-eyed with wonder. We’ve participated in scores of Retreats over the past 28 years, experiencing many highlights, but once again, God outdid himself. I watched Him work dramatically in the lives of kids and adults with disabilities and their families.

Like little Daniel in this photo… one look at his smile, and you know why “the Lord stands at the right hand of the needy one” (Psalm 109:31). It may be Jesus’ prerogative to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Because, once His work was finished on the cross, it was His honor to sit finally. But in Psalm 109, He chooses to stand at the right hand of children like Daniel. That’s powerful considering the only time we see the risen Christ standing for “a needy one” is at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:56). But when the Lord chooses to stand at your right hand, vouching for you, advocating, and praying for you, joy abounds!

…once again, God outdid himself. I watched Him work dramatically in the lives of kids and adults with disabilities and their families.

We saw it everywhere at Family Retreat. Joy was exuding from kids in wheelchairs spreading laughter; others, on crutches; some without limbs; some without sight or the ability to speak or process thoughts like most, many with autism, and their siblings. Moms, dads, and always, the volunteers (STMs). 17-year-old EJ, a home-school grad told me softly, “being here is magical.” Another volunteer, Matthew, proudly assured me, “No one gets left out. If we see a new kid or a new volunteer, we’re on it, welcoming him in!” And everywhere, you hear happy songs, fervent prayers, and spontaneous proclamations about Jesus. You come to Retreat, and you can’t help but feel Jesus’ joy abounding.

And Jesus worked in my life at Retreat. Just eight weeks ago, I was in the hospital. But my gracious Lord Jesus stood at my right hand, turning all my needs into causes for rejoicing. Yep, God specializes in doing something “new under the sun.” He’s outdone himself this season in my life, and in the hearts of these kids and their families at all our Joni and Friends’ Family Retreats this summer! So, a special thanks to all of our volunteers for joining Christ in standing at the right hand of these families, for their salvation in Christ, and for their confidence in the One who rises from His Throne on their behalf!


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Are you interested in serving at a Family Retreat? Volunteers serve families affected by disability through encouragement and friendship. Learn more about volunteering at Family Retreat.

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