At the Gym,
at the hospital,
at the gas station. Colossians 1.19-21
I've seen them before. Oh not them exactly, but some like them. Moving from my stationary bicycle, I stepped forward and greeted one young woman, "Hi. By chance, are you in recovery?" "Yes," she smiled and stepped in; another stepped a little closer, followed by a third. "Are you?" she wanted to know. "No, not exactly - but I was wondering, do you think I could pray for you?" The young women welcomed my touch and prayers for their strength in trying to maintain sobriety.
I guess my gym has an arrangement with some nearby sober living facilities, so folks come in threes and fours and kind of cluster together, usually whispering. For some reason, I see them and silently pray for their strength; occasionally, I start up conversation too.
In a couple weeks, I am leading a women's retreat/conference called "She Smiles at the Future," [www.shesmilesatthefuture.org] intended to foster and strengthen women's faith and trust in our good God, especially for the future. [I mean, for reals, do you know why you were born?? I will be teaching on that too!] So I ran to my car and got an invitation and brought it back to 'Lori' and told her I would love to have her as my guest.
She looked at me and said, "You know, I know I need a higher power." "O yes, yes, you do!" I said. She continued pedaling and held up her coffee cup. "They tell me this can be my higher power if I want, but that doesn't make any sense to me. I don't know much about God." "No, Friend, that cup isn't going to do anything for you. You've got to believe in something true, someone true, and that is Jesus." Looking at my watch, it was time to head for the airport . . . "Hey, Lori, I'll be praying for you. Here's my phone number, and I'll be back and see you here same time on Friday." Power from a cup? I don't think so.
Wanted to illustrate the point of my last briefing [http://pastorwoman.com/ReadArchive.aspx?id=3021] Jesus and Jesus only - for faith, hope and life, now and for eternity - with a couple real-life illustrations. Paul said, "For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God."
You and me made right through Jesus Christ. Period.
Jesus and Jesus only.
On Monday afternoon, I flew to Oakland to have a sleep-over with my brothers - Michael, who just turned 75, and Robert, who is 66 and having heart surgery today, (Wednesday). It was a sweet, though sad, time. The ravages of a life filled with bad choices have taken their toll on my Robert. But we spent a little time together like we never have. While Mike and I couldn't go in the operating room with Robert today, we knew One who could . . . Jesus. Together, we prayed for Robert; it was the most we could do. Thank the Lord, he came through well.
At the airport now - ready to board my airplane home... but on my way, had to stop to refill my rental car with gas. 'Ma'am, before you turn away ...' she said, and though I hadn't seen her coming, turned to find a woman in dirty clothes, with tatted hair... 'Could I tell you why I am on the street . . . I mean, before you judge me and turn away?' I listened, broken-hearted, looking at her through my black sunglasses, then reached in the car window and grabbed a five-dollar bill for her. 'Thank you, ma'am-I like your pink lipstick,' she said and walked away as I watched her go. As I hung up the hose, I yelled over the gas pump, 'Hey .... wait a second-if you're gonna take my money, can I pray for you?' Heads turned.
'Uh-yes, ma'am, please.' Clad in my pink sweater, I ran through the gas station and prayed for her, that God would make a way for her, that he would find her a home and that whatever it was that had her bound - well, that Jesus would come and loose the chains and set her free... Still holding her hands, I opened my eyes, looking into the tear-filled eyes, spilling over and making tracks down her dark cheeks. I reached to hug her and we embraced in the busy gas station-quite a spectacle we were. 'Thank you, Ma'am, that's just what I need, that's just what I need!' she stammered. 'Don't call me 'ma'am', I'm your friend now.'
I ran back to the car to get her something, just anything of Jesus. Grabbing the ripped-out chapter of Unexpected, the Christine Caine book I am teaching at Women of Passion, I said, 'Take this . . . you will like it.' She looked at the title, 'When Life Disillusions and being a prisoner of hope', then she brought the pages to her chest, then she kissed them. 'Thank you, thank you-hey, what's your name?' So, Lakeisha and I exchanged names, I gave her my phone number, and then . . . a brand new Bible I had in my briefcase - The Passion Translation.
'Will you write in it for me?' she begged like a child. 'Yes, but then I gotta go-I'm gonna miss my airplane.' She spelled her name for me, saying 'Okay, Christine, and I'm gonna walk away, because I wanna read it later. Will you date it and write the time too?'
'Oh dear Jesus,' I breathed and cut my eyes toward Heaven as I drove back to the rental car lot. 'It all comes back to you.' Hmmm....
Friends, this is walking with Jesus at its best.
This is the Grand Adventure! In the Gym, at the Hospital, at the Gas Station, we can give 'em Jesus. Only Jesus.