this past month my heart has been heavy as i’ve looked out and see many of the men in our community either not stepping into life or even stepping away from life. addiction. apathy. busyness. complacency. resignation. shame. these are just a few of the reasons why people do not choose into Jesus. me included. and it’s not always “bad” things that keep us from him and the life he offers us every day. in fact we might be giving ourselves to good things…it’s just that it keep us from seeing what is best…Jesus. i’ve been trying to pour into and pray over the men God has entrusted to me and it’s been disheartening when i don’t see response and change. ministry in the “hood” takes even longer as we must work through the brokenness of not only people (ministers included!) but the brokenness of generations of unjust systems. i’ve been thinking to myself “Jesus, didn’t you promise that if we come to you rivers of living water would flow from within us?” why don’t I see this?”
i can be pretty blind. Jesus has been opening my eyes these days though.
gus, my brother in Jesus, shared God’s word yesterday from john 4 and from the testimony of God in his life. before Jesus, gus used to be a very angry man…he has sent people to the hospital in blackouts of rage. he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. his marriage was on the rocks. he thought he was a lost cause. but Jesus did not. like the samaritan woman at the well, Jesus reached out to gus. first in the form of his wife, isabel, who stood by him as he overcame addictions. then a handful of years ago Jesus himself met him. then the deeper healing began. gus had deep pain in his life. one in particular was from when his daughter was born prematurely at 6 months and passed away after only a couple hours in this world. he was angry at God. in a time of prayer a few years ago Jesus revealed to gus God’s perspective: his daughter had a collapsed lung and should not have been able to live at all. God gave gus the gift to meet her and hold her for a couple hours.
gus is not a perfect man but i was reminded today (thanks lucy!) that Jesus’ living water IS flowing out of men like him. gus is a guy i just want to be around. he is a model of perseverance. he has had excruciating pain in his back from a work injury for years. yet he stands in God’s strength. as he has difficulty sleeping he mediates on scripture. he essentially remodeled our church building. the young men of the high school football team look to him for advice. this is a man who essentially prayed that God would send him to prison and took that opportunity to share Jesus with inmates. after he shared the word of God and his testimony, more than i have seen in months, men were drawn to the living water and stepped into Jesus by asking for prayer.
Jesus is awesome because he restores.
thank you Jesus for restoring my sight.