Last week I decided to join my friend Denise and the others that are a part of In "other" Words today our hostess is Kathryn and she chose the following quote:
“Sufferers want to be ministered to by people who have suffered. They are suspicious of people who appear to live lives of ease. He (God) has given a role to messy, wimpy people like me. He has made us His ambassadors of reconciliation, and suffering gives us credibility with a hurting world, and demonstrates God’s sufficiency to meet our needs.”
by Stephen F. Saint
This is an interesting topic for me to ponder at this particular moment in my life. I have to agree with Mr. Saint's perspective because I see this played out everyday. My Cowboy and I work with teenage boys and girls that are in prison. These kids are craving something. But they just don't know what it is. It is partly attention. From anyone. Which is in most cases why they are where they are. But to really get into thier head. To really reach them on thier level where they are coming from they need someone that understands. The girls for instance don't relate to my daughter even though she is young (26) but they do relate to my daughters best friend who is also 26. My daughter doesn't have any life experiences that the girls can relate to. Her best friend however although she was never arrested has many life experiences that the girls share.
We do chapel service every Sunday morning at the boys unit. It is really interesting watching them as they listen to Cowboy. They are usually very interested they listen intently (Cowboy is really a very gifted speaker) but when he occassionally mentions that he was arrested every single one of those boys all seem to lean toward the edge of thier seats and really start listening. He has never really told them the whole story as of yet and so it is a little funny watching them because they want to hear the whole story. Cowboy always stops short and tells them how he realized that he should have prayed during the particular events that were happening to him. He thought he had done something so stupid (he was 18) that God wouldn't listen. He really knew in his heart that God was there but he was listening to his head. This is the promise that he wants the boys to get. That no matter what God is there for them. All that they have to do is trust and believe and change. Make a decision to turn to God for strength and wisdom and guidance. You see when they hear that he was arrested he then begins to have that credibility that they seek.
As I ponder this topic and these words: ". . .suffering gives us credibility with a hurting world, and demonstrates God’s sufficiency to meet our needs.” I wonder what God has planned for me and my Cowboy because right now we are suffering. He is providing for us. We have a roof over our heads and just enough money each week to pay for that roof. We have a car that most days does get us where we need to be (Cowboy to work and to the prison facilities). We still have our dog and our cat and we have food. But we are homeless. If you had seen me 5, 10 or 15 years ago you would never dream or imagine that I would be living in a Motel 6. I mentioned my daughter and her inability to relate to the girls. She grew up going to a Christian private school. She rode horses everyday. She had a dooney and burke purse when she was in 2nd grade (we went to manufacturer outlets up north and bought them really cheap). Our lifestyle was so different then and. But then we were not in church. We had a bad experience and decided to take some time away. In our minds the kids were in Christian school and so that was ok. We still believed in God we still prayed and read our Bible occasionally but we were living for us. It wasn't until about 9 years ago that we got back into church and we became active and involved. And then 7 years ago we were called into full time ministry. It is amazing to me and I wonder every day what God is up to. When I was going around getting my hair and nails done, buying whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and not seeking him or serving him everything was great. I had a beautiful house. I had an awesome car. We ate out whenever we wanted.
But know as I seek Him daily. I serve Him. I sit in a motel. And so I ponder these words suffering gives us credibility in a hurting world. I get it. I understand what it is to be homeless. I don't just have a fuzzy feeling or a do gooder feeling about helping people anymore. You know the kind of feeling you have when you do community service. No I have the feeling of I really do know how you feel. And it is only God's grace and sufficiency and his Love that keeps me from giving up. And it is sweet friends that God uses everyday to remind me; I wouldn't call my friends messy or wimpy I would call them angels. I have been touched by angels.
And I am happy. I am scared. But when I think about being scared I think about the very last part of the quote "God’s sufficiency to meet our needs" and I remember it is true.