Friday, October 4, 2013

Being A Part...

We came here to the Jicarilla Apache Nation in New Mexico to serve God. Jesus commanded us to love one another as he loved us (John 15:12). Loving some people here is easy! We have been welcomed by many, and we are making friends within the church and the community. Our almost-seven-year-old has opened the door to some relationships we otherwise wouldn't have had; what a joy!

But Jesus didn't tell us to love only those who are easy to love. He said to us: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)  We're not being persecuted by anyone, but I wouldn't hesitate to pray for anyone.

Enemies? I can't think of any, really. Even those people in my past who have betrayed and wronged me, I don't consider enemies.  I certainly haven't found any here.

What about Matthew 5:39-42? Jesus says to turn the other cheek, to give more than is asked for, to voluntarily go beyond what is being asked, to give to those who beg, and not to refuse one who would borrow from you. And in verses 46-47, Jesus asks, "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?" 

We've had a few opportunities to extend our love to those who aren't easy: The wandering young man who is often intoxicated, but still wants to talk to "the father" regularly. The young girl at skating who asks for money so she can get snacks. The neighbor who tries to keep his dog from chasing after us when we bicycle by. The grieving who have lost too many young relatives to drug and alcohol abuse.

And tonight, a youngster who said, "I wish my dad wasn't dead." I replied, "So do I!" Then the child said, "I don't miss my mom, though. She went to jail because she killed my dad." As I am rubbing this young child's back, I'm thinking, "How do I extend love to this child, God? What can I do in this situation?" This child is obviously being cared for by family members; there is an adult present. But the deep need that drove this youngster to reveal these thoughts to an acquaintance... that's beyond me.

Yep. These needs are beyond me. They are beyond us. Only God is strong enough to meet the needs of our broken lives. Even those of us without acute dysfunction have deep needs that are only met by God Almighty, Emmanuel, Jesus Messiah...

My job in this is to allow God to work through me. To do what little I can: rub a back, listen, buy a snack, hear the pain. I am privileged to do this small work.

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