Friday, April 22, 2011
Remember the Poor & Broken
Thursday to Thursday, no night at Broken Hearts is ever quite the same. While some nights still feel dull and useless, experience continues to teach me to come expecting God to use us - even if just for one person.
Last night was no different. As usual I arrived to the normal BH crew and our friends who come every week - nothing out of the ordinary. A man named "Tex" who we'd met several weeks ago - full of life and in a generally sound state of mind - was, for the second week in a row, nearly passed out on the sidewalk waiting for us. Recently he has been incoherently drunk and depressed. He told us he'd just been in the hospital, his benefits had been taken away, he had no place to go or food, his body was full of pain, and wanted to end his life.
As in most situations here, the only good option was prayer. So while part of the team broke off to invite people to bible study and find out about some skirmish going on down the street involving fighting and police, two of us stayed to pray. As I so enjoy about prayer is that, the more we prayed, the more seemed to be revealed and in need of prayer. Evil spirits, physical pain, emotional pain...he cried out to God even as we did, touching his limp body lying on the dirty cement where tears proceeded to pool. He exposed the pain, the fear keeping him from getting help, complete lack of identity, and confessed lies, bringing much to light.
After we'd stopped and began to transition to bible study (about 30 minutes late from the long prayer) came the harsh contrast of how the homeless and tragically-broken are treated. Two security guards came by to tell him to get off the sidewalk or at least sit up against the wall, putting on rubber gloves and preparing to remove any alcohol bottles that he might have on him and possibly move him.They finally left him alone when we said he was with us and that we'd watch out for him. But that would not have been the case had we not been there...
(Again, to contrast, he'd recently been to church after I'd invited him, where within a few minutes he thanked me profusely and said he'd found a home and that people were so kind and welcoming. What a difference between the world and the Holy Spirit!....)
Around that time, a security guard from the club down the street came by to chat for a bit on his break, and told us how a few weeks ago he'd been stabbed seven times after leaving work one night. He said that experience had completely changed him and now he is a believer and sharing his story with co-workers who are shocked that he's alive. Stabbed seven times, and full of joy and laughter.
Reflecting on the night, I thought about how I'd been having a "down" day and not ready to pour out for anybody else. Yet through intense prayer, then hearing this other man's story, and seeing a bible study form from what once again looked like an empty night on the street...I found restoration. The passion found in serving and remembering the poor and taking the gospel to the broken-hearted gave me life and joy at the same time.
A few weekend ago at church, we were talking about remembering the poor. A woman who works to fight human trafficking and I talked about it later, and how she almost wanted to stand up in church and ask people if they have any idea what they're missing out on by not serving the poor. How we're missing a part of the heart of God and knowing him deeper by forgetting those who might be a bit harder to love or take more sacrifice to serve. Our pastor talked about this, too...how we're missing something in the gospel and in our relationship with God if we don't remember the poor.
No, it does not make sense that pouring out should fill us up. But it does. Let Him use you, wherever you are. Jesus promises us, it is in LOSING your life that you will FIND it...as He also gives it to others through you. Don't miss out....