Over this last week God has gotten a hold of my heart. Conviction and hope have been growing in me along with an excitement to be a more powerful witness of God's love in this world. I was preparing to teach a short devotional for our annual men's retreat. It was only meant to be fifteen minutes but the more I studied the more I wasn't sure what to talk about. Not for lack of ideas. I had a dozen different topics that were on my heart and I had begun studying each one. I probably could have talked for at least 15 minutes on every one of those ideas. The problem was I didn't have peace about any one of them. I also knew that with most of the topics I didn't have much personal experience actually living out what I wanted to say.
God took the whole thing in another direction. He used several different testimonies that I stumbled across in my preparation to reveal my lack of faith. I began to see that this is a major sin issue in my life. I trust God with almost nothing on a daily basis. I am dependent on my own ability and knowledge in almost every area of my life. These testimonies moved me and grew in me a strong desire to be a man of faith who trusts God with everything. The problem is that kind of faith is foreign to me. I don't know how people live that way and how they trust God at that level. I determined that I will start believing that God can change this in me. I know it's going to take a miracle but I've seen Him work in me like that before so I know He can do it again. Yet because of my lack of faith I'm still wrestling with this. It really feels like an impossible change, but God is faithful if we're willing to ask.
One of the areas where I want more faith is in my confidence to love people, especially people that I don't know or who are in situation that makes me uncomfortable. I want freedom to love no matter what. I want a faith that is willing to follow God into chaos or danger in order to love someone. Again, this is not me. I live life in the safe zone. Only God will be able to change this in me.
Then I met Brian, a homeless man who hangs out by the Fry's down the street.
I was at the grocery store last night doing my own thing. I had my ear buds in listening to music. It crossed my mind that if I didn't have my music going I might have an opportunity to engage someone but I was tired and I thought, I don't have time for that right now. As I walked out of the store towards my car there was Brian. It occurred to me to talk to him but I just walked on by. He was heading my direction and I was wrestling with the idea of saying something. I kept thinking, what do I have for this man? While I was putting my groceries in my car Brian called out and asked me for some change. I had a lot of change in the ash tray so I emptied it out and gave it to him.
I still didn't know what to say and I still wasn't willing to step out of my safe zone. Here was one of those opportunities and it was playing out according to my old way to a T.
This opportunity almost passed me by but God did something really cool. As I was giving Brian the last bit of change he said something like, that's a strange license plate, what does "IM A MK" mean? The cars next to mine had a vanity plate on it and Brian didn't know what an MK was. I said, I'm a MK, that means that I'm a missionaries kids. Brian immediately asked if I was a Christian.
God gave me a way in and He set me up to engage Brian. I asked Brian how he became homeless. He told me his story and it was a mess. He's an alcoholic and he needs surgery on two bad hernias but since he won't quit drinking he has too much alcohol in his system and doctors won't operate on him. I believe Brian is saved but he is stuck. I told him that I was in the same situation and God in His faithfulness is pulling me out of my sin just like he can pull him out of his. I was able to love on him and pray with him, we both cried. God used Brian to exercise my faith. What an awesome God we have.