Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A faith lesson for the teacher

The past few weeks have been physically and emotionally exhausting.  It’s one of those times when you wonder if God really knows what He is doing.  Transitioning from training into ministry has been a struggle that has tested my faith many times.  Personal training is financially stable and comfortable for me.  Ministry feels shaky and uncertain most of the time.  This morning I woke up and felt like “calling in sick”.  I was suppose to head Downtown to teach a Bible Study for homeless women.  I woke up feeling empty and like I had nothing to offer them.  I once heard a Bishop say that God is most pleased with us when we are tired but go ahead and serve anyways.  I prepared the snacks and coffee for the ladies and headed to Amarillo.  When I got to the Day Shelter it was filled with men but almost no women.  “Great”, I thought, “I wasted my time today for nothing.”  I ended up having only one woman come.  I decided perhaps the Holy Spirit needed me to minister to this one in a different way so I set the lesson plan aside and just began to talk with her and ask her about her life.  This particular lady has come to several of the other Bible Classes and worship times we have had.  She is a very sweet black woman in her late 60’s named Joyce.  She came from an era when her parents both worked as servants for “white folks”.  She has had a hard life.  In the 1980’s her husband left so she and her four kids moved in with her parents, until they kicked them all out in 1989.  She told me that she walked the streets crying continually for several years, but then one day “the Lord dried my tears”. . .I asked her where she was staying.  She told me, “On the street”.  I asked her why she didn’t go to the Salvation Army or another mission.  “I have done that, but I don’t want the Government or anyone else to have to take care of me, you see, I have a Father, He knows all I need.”  I then asked her if she was ever afraid on the streets at night.  Her answer: “I use to be, but when you know the Father, and when you know the Son, you know nothing can touch you that He doesn’t allow.  You know that He can make even your enemies to be at peace with you.”  Then she said, “all I really need is that Closer Walk With Thee.”  She told me that many times in life it was the old Hymns she learned as a child that brought her through.  She told me all she really wanted or needed was to someday be with Him.  Then she looked at me and said, “I am so glad you come down here, you are His light to this darkness, keep doing what you’re doing and know that I am lifting you up to my Father.” 

Before I go Downtown I always ask the Lord to send exactly who He wants that day.  That He sends the people who need to feel His presence and know His love.  Today, instead of God sending me to minister Downtown, He sent me Downtown to be ministered to.   I went empty but God gave me hope through a homeless woman named Joyce.  Sometimes God shows up where we least expect Him.  I still have questions and frustrations, but I am learning to trust as Joyce trusts.  That the Lord can dry all of our tears, that His hand is with us no matter where we find ourselves, and a closer walk with Him is all we need to sustain us.  Will all of you say a prayer for Joyce today?