Thursday, August 11, 2011
Last night I was at the office multi-tasking. I had SOZO Ministry, Youth Ministry and general admin. thoughts rolling through my head and onto my keyboard while a youth worship session was revving up in the next room. The night was super charged with emotion and expectation. It seemed as though time hung still in the air as youth shifted their focus away from all of their normal distractions. That alone was a window of time to be privileged in witnessing, but then I became involved in another matter entirely.
I was introduced to a visitor named Patrick. His life has been so very rough thus far; in and out of homes and currently in yet another halfway house. His red eyes were filled with tears and swam with unbridled emotions of vulnerability, shame and awe. He wanted to stay but had told his shift leader at the home he would be back by 8pm. He was 45 minutes late and without a ride. I showed him to my car and silently drove along while I gave him space to process and swallow all he was wrestling with.
Finally I said, "Patrick I think you have had an experience tonight with God. I am so glad you enjoyed the evening."
That brought on a new wave of emotion as he tried to calm his breathing and said, "I don't know why I am so emotional at church. This always happens to me. It scares me. I just.....I mean.....I know this is where I want to be but I have done so many wrong things.......so many......I have to make up for that. It is really hard."
"Patrick, I think that maybe being emotional is scary because when we show our heart feelings like that, we show our vulnerability. Society gives the impression that we are supposed to be strong and act untouchable. But when we show our emotions we are sharing our inner most tenderness and leave ourselves exposed to the possibility of being affected. Patrick, you say that you have things to make up for. What is really so very cool about God is that.....all those things....He knew them before they happened.....and He loves you anyway just the way you are at this very moment. He loves you with more than a 'hey I love you man' type of attitude. He loves you for real with an emotion that makes Him burst from the inside out with passionate intensity that doesn't end. He jumps up and down with excitement for you and is ecstatic because you are His. He is proud of you and wants you to know it."
That brought on a fresh wave of tears as he said, "But you don't know how much I have been hurt. Being emotional like this brings up all of those hurts......and it REALLY hurts."
"Patrick, being hurt is horrible. It stinks, it sucks, it isn't fair and should never happen. But it does happen because everyone else is hurting too. Everyone hurts each other first so that they don't get hurt themselves. It is so wrong. But here is the deal; I don't know if you have had opportunity to hear this from God just yet but do you know that because God is always with us, He feels everything that we feel. He cries when we cry, He hurts when we hurt and He smiles when we smile. Plus because He loves us so much and has such passion for us, He feels all of those things even more than we do."
Patrick's eyes got really big as he tried to take all of that in; the knowledge that his pain is never alone, that his heart is not a dark secret.
All too soon we were at his home and I smoothed the tardy curfew over with the shift leader. It ended with that person saying as long as Patrick is doing church related events he can be gone as long as needed.
I don't know what will happen next for Patrick. But I know that God loves him, has His hand in his life and won't let go. He promises to make good come out of all things.
God bless you and your day today.