Have you ever sat and wondered “Does God listen to my prayers?” or maybe “Does God really love me?” Last week a broken woman I barely know walked into my office at work and laid her heart in front of me and I could see all the pain that she was wrapped up in as she told me “God’s love is for other people, I envy them, but it’s not for me”. If you have ever felt like that, or if you are feeling that right now, I pray that you will stop believing that lie and accept the love that is waiting for you. I can promise you one thing, God’s love is for you, as much as it was for Moses, David, and even Jesus himself. It’s not something I can explain, but it’s sometime I promise will be shown to you if you give Him the chance.
I’ve been going through quite a journey lately, but it’s my journey and the things I have seen and felt in the past month are unlike anything I have ever experienced before in my life. I just finished a 21 day fast, not to lose weight, simply to lose the world and find my Jesus, the one who loves me more than anything I have ever experienced before. What has been amazing is the clarity of faith I now see, the answers to prayers, a the connection to something so real I can grab it with both hands and never want to let go. What God has shown me that I can explain to you is that I am called to ministry, to share the love I have been given with anyone and everyone I can find. As I write this I am so excited to get to share what God has given me with others this Sunday down at Desert Rose. I am not excited for because of anything I can do on my own, simply for the message that I believe God has shared with me to share with others.
What I do find very interesting is how God can use the unlikeliest of people, in the most uncommon of circumstances, to show us exactly how He loves. Earlier this week I was talking to my wife about the movie The Shack, and the book as well. What I do not understand is how some people find this to be a new age worldly view of Jesus and will simply not even read it or see the movie because someone else, many times a pastor, has spoken out against it. I think the big hangup is that God appears in this fictional story to a man in his dreams as a black woman. Because we all know God is a white man with a flowing white beard, and lightening bolts in his hands, or is that Zeus? I am not hear to argue about The Shack, it’s a great story, see it/read it or not, that’s your choice. But I do find it funny that people can fully accept God speaking through a burning bush (Exodus 3) or a talking donkey (Numbers 22:21-39) but cannot accept the fact that he could choose just about anything or anyone to send his message of unfailing love to one of us.
Part of my fast involved focusing on what I am doing and where I need to be, which of course would involve my job. I love my job, I don’t love the work, in fact I am pretty burned out as an IT guy. But I know I am part of a bigger picture, and the work being done at my agency is showing love to so many of the “least of these” I am happy to do my part. What I need in my life is people though, and I am at a point where working on machines just isn’t doing it. It was about 1 week into my fast that I sat my boss down and told him we need to talk about a cessation plan for me, as I will not be able to do this for much longer. God is calling me into something else, but I don’t know what. The first window I saw open was a new opportunity to work from home, to do similar work I am doing now, but have full control over my time and schedule. A job I can do from my home in Hermiston or in a remote village in Guatemala. I fell in love with that idea, and I reached out to many faithful friends and asked them simply to pray that I would see God’s plan revealed before me, clear as day. I didn’t ask for prayer that I get the job, I prayed for God’s will to be shown to me. That’s hard for me, because I wanted this job, and the more I thought about it the more I convinced myself this was the job I needed. It wasn’t, and God showed me that in so many ways. It’s important to understand I am not looking for a new job, I am simply open to accepting what is shown to me. Honestly if God wants me to stay where I am, I would be more than happy to do that until I am called to something else. With that said, if something lands in my lap then I will follow that until I get the answers I seek. Today was one of those days, one of those “accidental” moments where I must pause and ponder “why this, why now?”
Today in the most unsuspecting way from the most unsuspecting person, I believe a message was sent to me from God. Just a random fleeting moment to anyone else, I sat there and actually had to laugh a little. A woman I work with, one I call a good friend, sent me a message on Facebook Messenger (while we talk and text often enough, she had sent me a total of 4-5 messages on FB). Oddly enough it was a job opening at a local prison, one I just so happen to volunteer in and have for the past year. Let’s rewind a few weeks to another conversation I was having with an employee at the other local prison (yes we are blessed to have two medium security prisons within 30 minutes of each other) I volunteer in. I was explaining to her I felt drawn to prison, and I wasn’t sure if that was work or just volunteering, but it makes me feel alive when I turn the corner and see the sign out front. I had asked her if it was possible to work for the prison, and still be allowed to volunteer in it as well. She informed me that as long as the two roles did not overlap, that wasn’t an issue. I had already told her that my heart was telling me I was done with IT, but I told her that one reason I could stay in IT is if it got me into the prison. Now let’s get back to present time, today. The job this random moment in my life exposed to me was an IT job, working in that very prison that launched my prison ministry, that opened the door to Ragamuffin Ministries, that makes my heart feel complete. So now I am back at that crossroads, where is this going? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I feel that it’s important to look at all the possible directions I could go, and trust I will know which way to go when I need to make that choice. For now I will humbly submit to His will, and I will apply for that job and see what happens with it. I do know this, it feels right, it feels like a natural fit to everything I have been thinking and praying about lately. Maybe it’s just further confirmation that I am where I need to be, or perhaps it’s time to pack it up and head out on a new journey. What I do know is I believe this was not an accident, just simply an answer.
“You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.” ~ SAINT AUGUSTINE