Aug 23, 2012

Make my life a prayer

I recently spent a week in a very bad area of a major city in the USA. Prior to arriving the Lord led me to Micah 6:8 in the Bible; “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" It was a week filled with opportunities to meet some wonderful people who seemed so very out of place.

I sat with a family of five; a dad, a mom, and three young children, all of whom had radiant smiles that drew me to them. I was impressed at how well behaved they were; almost shocked considering that they were homeless and lived in one of the worst crime filled part of a major city in the USA. I was awakened to my ignorance of people. I told the parents (in front of the children) what a great job they had done raising their children. A smile came to their faces.

A retired couple lost all that they had in a fire that destroyed the building in which they were living. The heart break wasn’t just that they had lost all of their possessions, but the callousness of a landlord who tossed them out into homelessness as he chose to not make repairs to the building ravaged by the fire.

A young boy held out his tennis ball looking for someone to play with. It was his smile that caught my attention; he couldn’t have been more than eight years old. I had seen the police bring him and his mom and all of their belongings to the shelter the day before. All of their possessions fit into the rear seat of the police vehicle! His face looked so out of place in the dining hall of the Community Center of the homeless shelter I was in and saw where his mom had carved out an area for a cot and her belongings as she waited several days for a room to open up in the shelter. I played catch with him and held back tears that such innocence should be in such a bad area of the city.

A family of three; a dad and two young children all of whom had radiant smiles that drew me to them. The oldest girl reached out and tried to get my attention as she played “peek-a-boo” behind a pillar. I walked out of the building with the dad and listened to him share his story as to how he came to be where he now was. In the alley where we walked I had seen seven people arrested within a four hour span of time. He told me that one year before he had been living in his own house making a very good living. He lost it all after he was laid off due to budget cuts at a company at which he had worked for years. Eventually, he was unable to make his house payments and became homeless; he and his children and came to the shelter to find rest, and food, and some hope. I said goodbye and turned to go back to the shelter as I pushed back the tears welling up with in me.

Back inside the building, she was a young, maybe twenty or so; her hair was red and her face and arms were covered with red freckles. She was wearing the same clothes that I had seen her in the day before. She held the handle of a baby stroller as she stood in line waiting to get a meal. Her baby couldn’t have been more than one month old and brought life to the homeless shelter. She reminded me of one of my own daughters who had a baby the same age and my heart was touched.

And I lost it and had to leave the room. I went into a bathroom and sat down on the toilet and cried my eyes out. The song “Make my life a prayer” by Keith Green came to mind. I was filled with gratefulness for how the Lord has provided for me, and filled with contriteness at not being more grateful in the past.

I don’t claim to understand all that I see in this world. There is so much pain and sorrow, so much injustice. There seems to be such a gap between those who have and those who don’t. There are situations that I find myself in that I can’t explain who God is and what He is doing. It is in those situations that I simply remember that He is in control and I once again surrender to Him and make my life a prayer to Him.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Keith Green - Make My Life a Prayer to You

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