Monday, June 4, 2012
Run To The Cross
I'm talking about feeding the hungry and homeless in our community. We serve with some amazing people. There are several volunteers and we look forward to doing this together as a team every month. For the past 6 months we've instituted a time of individual prayer. I make the announcement to the 70+ people that are waiting in line to be served that we are blessed to be here to share a meal with all of them, but would love to share the love of Jesus with them by praying with them if there is a need. I let them know I'm available if they would like some individual prayer. My boys and I serve as runners during the meal, then once everyone is served, I am usually asked by individuals to come and pray. Sometimes I just go and pray with them at their seat if they call me over, other times we go into a separate room where there is some level of privacy. It is such an honor to run to the cross with people.
I've prayed for people to be healed, prayed for provision and many other things. I just listen. I think just having someone they can talk to, someone that just looks into their eyes, without judgement and listens...I think that means the most. We're all so different in how we interact with people. One way isn't better than the next. This is just the way God made me. I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not....and eventually...I find that they feel the same way. Often it starts off with zero eye contact and grandiose stories. Then after a little bit, sometimes elements of raw truth begin to surface. Oh the beauty of taking off the masks.
The other very important element is touch. I've been told "I'm sure you don't want to hold my hand!" The first time someone said this to me, I was shocked. Did they think they were "unclean", "unworthy"? What? Why wouldn't I want to hold your hand and pray with you. I remember my heart sinking...they need to know love...unconditional love...the kind that my Lord gives. (Remember, I was homeless at one time too) Yes I want to hold your hand....I want to run to the cross with you. I want to hug you when we're through. This is me...the way God made me. I walk away humbled at the opportunity to do this every single time! Yesterday was no exception...except this time...I felt like I was standing on Holy Ground.
Interestingly enough while I was praying with a man for healing (I always leave the door open so others can see me because I'm alone), I looked up for a moment and saw another man...watching. We locked eyes at one point then he turned away. When I was done it was time to serve seconds. This man approached me and asked if I could talk with him. We went into the room (door open) and he began to talk. He told me a little about his personal story. He was passionate. He talked about a few of his friends praying in agreement to God for a solar generator. He is convinced that the Lord will provide one in His timing. I asked him if he has made a decision for Christ, if he has accepted God's plan of salvation for his life. He continued with his story, how he struggled with anger and judgement, but God got a hold of his heart after he read this book and yes he is now saved. He pulled it out of his back pack...The Purpose Drive Life. I told him that I read that book too. He started to weep. He proceeded to tell me all that has been happening in his heart and life since picking up this book and reading it. He felt like he wanted to talk with me since he had walked in the door, before I even spoke about prayer. He felt like he needed prayer, but wasn't sure what to ask for.
At this point I began to pray in the Spirit and ask the Lord to reveal to me how I should pray for him. I wanted to hear from God. As he stood there weeping, he looked into my eyes, with this "please tell me what I should be doing" kind of look. I locked eyes with him, not having any great wisdom at all, and said...can I just begin to pray over you? He said..."You may not want to hold my hands...since I've been crying and blowing my nose." So I reached over and placed both my hands on his shoulders. I looked down at the floor and I noticed tear drops on the ground. This man was searching for God's purpose in His life.
So I began to worship God right there. Praised Him for His love, His mercy, His grace! Thanked Him for His Word, His sacrifice, His plans! My new friend praised God right with me. I was getting excited, I could totally feel the Holy Spirit's presence in that room. That scripture from 1 Corinthians 1:27 popped into my head "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." OH I know this scripture! In context it says this: "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not —to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."
As I began to pray in light of what the Lord was speaking to my heart. This man's demeanor began to change. It was totally connecting with him. His purpose...to be a light in a dark place. He was no longer angry with anyone for judging him - he no longer judges other either. He knows that some of his choices put him in the place he has been for the past 3 years. He has changed...his heart and mind have changed...but he loves these people. He wants them to know what he knows. He told me he felt that way, but "why would God use someone like me, a man who made foolish mistakes?" I read that scripture to him. We continued to pray a prayer of equipping. The truth is...God equips those He calls. It will never, should never, be you and your strength...it should always be His!
At the end of our time (and it was a good 30 minutes), I gave him a hug and called him brother (he smiled). I told him he could use support, and gave him some local churches...including my own church, where I'm confident he will find support, love and acceptance.
I walked away...changed. Once again, humbled beyond words. This journey to the cross was different. Even now I weep because I still can't come up with the words to explain what God is doing in my own life. I'm pretty sure that what I was telling Andy was the same things that God was speaking to my own heart. This morning in my quiet time with Him, I laid that all down.
Continue to do this new thing in me Lord. I know you are moving people and things out of my life for a reason..to do a new thing. I'm excited, nervous, but more excited. I feel like a little girl, holding on tight to her Daddy's hand. Thank you for not ever letting go!