Running Down and Up the Hills

Focus 40Day 16

I, the Lord, will take you by the hand… and you will free captives from prison… —Isaiah 42:7 (paraphrased)

One of my most memorable experiences came as a senior seminary student at Anderson University,
working at Park Place Nursery School with three-year-olds. Those little children were so innocent
and eager to learn. One little girl latched onto my heart. I don’t remember her name, but I remember
her well. She was extremely quiet, painfully shy, a loner, somber most of the time. She wouldn’t play
or work with other children or adults. Throughout the semester I attempted to reach to her, to pull
her out of her cocoon. I prayed for her, wondering what kind of home she had, whether she were an
abused child. I wanted intensely to help her play with the other children.

On my last day in nursery school, it was time for the children to go outside to play a favorite
game: holding hands with each other, or a teacher, and running down and up the grassy hill on the
playground. The picture is etched indelibly in my mind. Standing by the door, watching children run
outside, I felt a little hand take hold of mine, and I heard her speak softly those unforgettable words,
as her big brown eyes captivated my heart, “Mr. Bruce, would you run down the hill with me?” It was the
first time she opened up to let anyone inside her fragile shell!

I ecstatically responded, “Honey, I sure will!” Off we went, hand in hand, running down and
up the grassy hill together. Soon she let go of my hand and joined the children, running, laughing,
playing, having a wonderful time.

As I watched through misty eyes, I breathed a prayer of thanks to God for letting me have a
part in freeing a beautiful little creation of his from her cocoon, setting her free to soar. I never saw
her again, but I do hope she is still soaring in the strength of the Lord.

That’s why Jesus came, to run down and up the hills of life with us, setting us free to soar as
on eagles’ wings through the good news of Jesus Christ in all his healing, reconciling power. He
came to set us free, to heal and restore us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and
relationally. And he came to empower us to set others free spiritually, mentally, emotionally,
physically, and relationally. This demonstrates the awesome power of persevering intercessory
prayer. Never give up!

Thank you, God, for the power of intercessory prayer to heal, restore, and set people free to soar and run down and up
the hills of life with inexpressible joy, uncontainable happiness, and unending freedom. Give me the vision and love to
see others who need to be set free to run down and up the hills. In the name of him who is able! Amen!

– Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl,
Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University

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