It’s one of my favorite places on earth. It’s also one of my favorite trips that we take as a youth group. It’s the place we are at this weekend: Rainbow Omega. In the middle of nowhere (Eastaboga, AL) lies one of God’s biggest blessings. This organization ministers to some of God’s most precious children. Some people would call them “disabled”. But after you meet them, you learn just how “able” they actually are. You discover that these are some of the most talented people on the earth. They are some of the sweetest, most loving people I have ever met.
This weekend we brought over 45 people with us. And we will have a life-changing experience this weekend. Not from serving. Oh…the serving will be good. We will work hard (and already have as I write this). Not necessarily from being together as a youth group. That’s a good part of the trip because we spend a lot of time together. But more than likely, that won’t be the life-changing experience. The life-changing experience is found in the residents themselves. Because here, more so than anywhere else, it is easier to see and to experience the unconditional, unending love of God. It’s hard to imagine people loving you who have never met you or know anything about you. But they do. They love you. And they love you for you. Not for what you can do for them. Not for what you look like, talk like, or act like. They love you because you are you. And that makes you love them.
That kind of love is a glimpse of the love of God. If you’ve given your life to Christ, then you’ve experienced the love of God. You’ve experienced the love that brings you to your knees before the cross of Jesus as you pledge your life to Him. And we can see and feel that kind of love through the residents at Rainbow Omega. Unless you’ve been here, it’s probably hard to imagine how that could even be the case.
Every year we come to Rainbow Omega, I’m reminded of some statements that Jesus made that are recorded in Matthew 19. Some children had been brought to Jesus so he could place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples assumed Jesus was too important to take time for little children. I mean, think about it. Jesus was busy healing people, teaching about the kingdom of God, raising the dead, and feeding thousands of people. His disciples assumed he was too important to play with children. But not our Lord. Here’s what he said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Then he placed his hands on them, prayed for them, and moved along to another place. For the longest time, I struggled to understand what Jesus meant by saying the kingdom of heaven belongs to children. Until I came to Rainbow Omega. Until I experienced the true love of God through the lives of these residents. And each year I’m reminded that I need to become more like them. I need to love more. I need to love people for who they are. I need to show and express my love for them often. I need to use my gifts and talents for God, not for receiving glory from others. I need to be God’s child, and to be content with who He’s called me to be.
These people have changed my life. And I’m thankful to God for that. Eastaboga, AL will always hold a special place in my heart. Rainbow Omega has been a blessing from God, not only for the residents, but for me. And for all those I’ve been blessed to bring with me.
Love. Give. Serve. Share.