My perceptions have been blown open. My outlook is different. I have been challenged and encouraged in my thinking.
I read a book recently called "Same Kind of Different as Me." The book was written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.
The story is true. The story isn't always pretty.
There is hardship. It is such that we have never known, or could even begin to understand. It's a beautiful story of redemption so powerful in the lives of two men with two very different backgrounds.
God uses one woman to weave His incredible gift of grace into both of their lives and bring them together in a way that could only be truly orchestrated by Him.
I got angry, I cried, I marveled, I rejoiced.
I will never look at some people the same way again.
My family participated in a homeless coat drive in December. We joined friends whose church ministers to the homeless with a big hot breakfast and distributes coats, hats, mitts to those in need.
My family prayed for those that we would be serving, and speaking too. We were all prepared to speak into their lives, share the gospel and love on them.
What great lofty ideas, what ignorance and arrogance really. To think that we could just go down there once a year and really reach their hearts?!
Honestly, I was discouraged when I came home. Sure they got fed, they received tracts, and they left with coats. But did we make an eternal impact? I didn't think so.
One guy whom I spoke to for what seemed like forever, actually correction, he spoke to me forever exasperated me.
Everytime I tried to mention Christ, Gods love for him, his need for a Saviour I was given a long monologue on stairs to heaven, a coke can, balancing on a pole and dishwashers.
He was fried. He made NO sense. Be it drugs, mental illness, spiritual oppression, he was more than a few screws loose. My heart ached for him, I longed to share with him all that was stored up in my heart.
I wondered if the whole thing was futile. Had we really addressed their spiritual needs or just met their physical needs?
Yes and no to both.
Seeds may have been planted with some, and we had reached out and cared with the heart of Jesus.
We are called to do just that. Speak truth, care, love and serve.
It was not all that I envisioned it to be, but I was glad to be a part of it.
After reading this book, (Same kind of Different) I was ashamed. I realized that I had limited God in what He could do. I had limited His power to certain people. It shouldn't matter what shape they are in now, how dire they look, how hopeless the situation seems.
God restores, heals, makes all things new.
He is in the business of miracles.
Life-changing, earth shattering, Spirit transforming miracles!
We may not have daily interactions with homeless, drug addicted, rough living people. But we all have lost people in our lives. I am sure everyone knows a prodigal or maybe has even been a prodigal themselves.
I was talking to a friend once about my frustration, my burden for some lost relatives. It seemed so hopeless at times, so impossible.
She encouraged me to look at them through different eyes. She said to me, "See them how they will be. Don't look at them the way they are now. Look at them as if God has already transformed them. What can you see?"
"Look at their strengths and then imagine how those strengths would manifest themselves if the Holy Spirit got a hold of them. See them as already a new creature in Christ. The fire, the passion."
Oh, how this encouraged me. It transformed my prayer life for the close, unsaved people around me. I had fresh insight, a fresh purpose, and new hope.
I am energized. I am thank-ful for things yet to come.
And I await.
Till He makes all things new.
p.s. I highly recommend this book. You won't regret it and I guarantee it will move you and shake you.
(Don't we all need that now and then? :)