By Matt Cooper, Back2Back Mexico Director
This summer, I spent three weeks serving alongside the Back2Back staff team in Monterrey, Mexico. One morning, as I walked around the campus praying, God gave me a vision. As I was looking down at the gravel, I saw a picture of cupped hands, over-flowing with rocks. Then one by one, God began to remove the rocks saying, “These burdens aren’t yours to carry.” I spent the next few minutes confessing my own burdens – things I felt God wanted me to hand over to him. Deep down, I realized the vision was not just for me.
Following my prayer time, I left the Back2Back campus to serve at Douglas Children’s Home, alongside a visiting mission team. We had a great day of working in the home, playing with kids, and loving them in the name of Jesus. I spent the majority of my time that day hanging out with the older teenage boys. As interactions and conversations built upon one another throughout the day, God gave me the chance to connect in a very special way with a boy named Alex.
Towards the end of the day, Alex and I were sitting at a picnic table when he began to share about his past. He shared with me about how he came to live at the children’s home, how his mother had died when he was young, and how his father had abandoned the family. He shared with me about abuse and deep hurts he had suffered, how he had learned to not think, to not feel pain, to just be a survivor, and how there were parts of his past he wished he could forever erase from his mind. His past was dark, and his heart was heavy. He was carrying a lifetime of burdens. It was then I began to understand the vision God had given me earlier that morning was for Alex.
“Can I pray for you, Alex?,” I asked him.
“Of course,” he replied.
“God wants me to show you something, Alex,” I explained.
“Cup your hands,” I instructed him. I reached down and began to scoop up rocks from the ground, filling his hands.
“These rocks represent the hard times of your past, the hurts you’ve lived, the abuse you’ve suffered, the things you wish you could just erase from your mind. And these burdens aren’t yours to carry. In fact, today, if you’ll let Him, God wants to take each and every one from you.”
One by one, I picked up each rock from his hands and tossed it to the ground, declaring freedom in the name of Jesus, “God is taking this one. God is taking abandonment. God is taking fear. God is taking shame. God is taking bad memories. God is taking self-hate. God is taking nightmares. God is taking unforgiveness,” and on and on until his hands were empty.
By the time I had thrown the second rock from his hands, his shoulders began to shake, and he burst into tears. When we finished praying, God had not only removed a multitude of burdens but had begun to replace them with peace, hope, and joy. What God did in Alex’s life that day was miraculous. God had begun to renew a mind that had been trapped in a place of darkness, allowing His light, His love, and His redemption to flood in.
I love that our God is constantly in the business of making all things new! I know He is not yet finished with Alex. I trust God has great plans for his life, and that He will be faithful to complete the good work He’s begun in Alex.
After serving with Back2Back in Mexico for eleven years, Matt Cooper now directs the Mexican sites from Back2Back’s office in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is passionate about seeing orphaned and vulnerable children experience hope and healing.