Sunday, April 8, 2012

HOPE NOW... a Message for Easter

This morning, on our way home from church, we came across a man that was physically struggling to place one foot in front of the other. The thoughts flooded my head, as they so often do: We should stop and see if he's okay. Give him a ride. Offer to buy him dinner, or better yet groceries. But, I didn't speak them. I just prayed. The remainder of the car ride was quite. Almost like the gloom that covered this unknown man had infiltrated and polluted the very air we breathed... which is exactly what happened. By the time we pulled into the driveway, my husband asked me to take the kids into the house because he was going back to help the stranger. I asked him to take one of our neighbors with him... fearing his safety. But he said "No" and went on his way.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to fearing the worst. And I could never in a million years articulate the relief I felt when my husband walked through the doors almost 30 minutes later. But, I can share with you God's divine providence. The man's name was Charles. He disclosed that he had been in some really dark places in his life... but, none as dark as the one he found himself in at this very moment. The smell of alcohol from his breath was impossible to ignore. The injuries he had somehow sustained left him almost incapacitated. From the moment he entered our car, he cried the entire way to his house... confiding to my husband that just moments earlier he was thinking of ending his life. And it was then that my husband shared the message of hope that was only shared with us an hour before. My husband presented the Gospel, the message of hope, to someone so broken that there seemed no escape except to end his own life.

By the time they reached his house, Charles seemed to be in a better place. He extended his hand to shake my husband's... and it was then that my husband saw the tattoo that ran across Charles' hand: Satan. Even now, it takes my breath away.

As Charles exited our car, he thanked my husband for his time and even contemplated the possibility of discovering a new friend. How God must smile (and Satan must scream in disgust) at the thought of someone so lost being given the Hope of Christ. This is why Jesus overcame the grave. This is what we have been commissioned to do... to spread the love of Christ to a broken world. And the fact that this opportunity... this gift... was presented to us on the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior is not lost on us.


In an effort of full disclosure, I have to admit some trepidation at starting a new blog. For starters, the first one (The 'Crazy Love' Experiment) almost wrecked me. The other day, I went back to read some of my entries from over a year ago... thankful for God's grace and goodness, only able to admit now that time and distance have lent themselves to wisdom and perspective. But, despite this, I readily admit that I'm no fan of the Divine Pruning Process. Yet, after a long talk with a dear friend and mentor (thanks, Amy!) I quickly became aware of how important this blog is.... not to you (I'm not so self-absorbed to think that any of you care in the slightest about my thoughts and perspective!). It's important to me and my family... my children, their heritage. Because one day I will look back over these entries with a profound appreciation for where God has lead us. Because, despite my ironclad memory at this time in my life, there will come a time when these precious moments fall away, forever lost unless remembered by pen (or in this case, computer). Because our family is about to embark on an adventure that will cause us to leave our family and friends, everything we know... for the one thing we hold dear: Jesus.

We have the great fortune of being part of a church plant in Providence, Rhode Island. Our dear friends, Jared and Rachel Cowgur are planting the church through Restoration House Ministries and we couldn't be more honored and humbled at the opportunity to share the Hope of Jesus. This blog will document our journey... and the adventure that awaits!

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