Love Never Fails

She was probably somewhere between 40 and 50 years old.  Very thin and wiry-looking, and extremely tanned, with long, beautiful hair.  She was a pretty lady, really, even without teeth. She didn’t carry anything with her that wouldn’t fit in her Walmart bag.  But she did have a story. Every person in the park at that outreach that day had a story. Every homeless person, every just-this-side-of-homeless person, and every volunteer there had a story.   I suppose we could have made a whole book that day of the stories of peoples’ lives.

As we sat next to each other on the grass eating lunch… I didn’t know her, and she didn’t know me…I tried to engage her in conversation.  It didn’t take much. I smiled at her and asked her name, and she immediately teared up and said, “He tried to kill me last night. He hit me in the head and he tried to strangle me with a cord and he assaulted the young girl across the street who tried to make him stop, and the police arrested him, and my whole face feels like it’s shattered.”

All I could do was just stare at her for a few seconds.  I was immediately assailed with thoughts of, “Dear Lord, this is way over my head.”  Which was a good thought to have, because it reminded me that when I get out of the way, that’s when God shows Himself to be strong and true.  We talked for awhile. She shared a bit about herself…I offered words of love and hope. I gave her a small Bible (one that would fit in a Walmart bag), and trust that she will pick it up sometime and God will talk to her.  What she does with that divine conversation is her choice.

Was she drinking that day?  Yeah. Had she made bad decisions?  Yeah. Was she in her right mind? Probably not…she probably lost that several beatings ago, several drunken/drug induced stupors ago.  Does Jesus love her? Yeah.

You know why I feel called to this kind of ministry?  Because I can think of two different seasons of my life before Christ when I was just one poor choice away from being her.  And God didn’t give up on me. He never gave up on me. Do I keep that to myself? I absolutely cannot. I am compelled to offer the life and hope that I have found in Christ.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”  -2 Corinthians 5:18-19.