When I first opened this blog, I didn’t have a definable idea of what blogging was about. My thought was to share the nuggets of knowledge I picked up teaching the scriptures of the Bible as I so enjoyed doing in live classes/pulpit. But what I found missing was the live interaction with active learners who were eager to discuss the subjects. The keyword here being “live.”
Where voice inflections, body language, facial expressions, clarification of misunderstandings, and such all come together in a living space in real-time. That is what I missed. Not only the sharing of knowledge but the sharing of experience – live and in action.
I also missed the setting and moments of quite sudden enlightenment.
Sharing the experience of the Savior with drug addicts and alcoholics is quite different from doing so with a church group of life-long church attendees. There seemed to be an urgency among addicts who genuinely wanted an alternative to their way of life and a reason for being. Some who have always attended church display this urgency, too, but fewer than those who have experienced a walking death.
Of course, not all who were addicted to drugs/alcohol embraced the Savior’s call, but those who did were “all in.” They held nothing back. The new creation that they became even showed in their demeanor. Hard, chiseled faces and cold, calculating eyes, melted into soft, radiant features with genuine joy shining from their eyes. And combative natures became attitudes of loving-kindness looking to help others in need.
It was common to see a recent entry come into the mission with only the clothes on his back, and the dorm community would gather him under their wing taking up a collection of socks and underclothes from each other so he could have a change after his first shower in some cases, months. And then, from their personal belongings again, provide him with shoes, a hat and a warm coat when cold weather was the season. The mission provided these things, but this was on an emergency basis until it could gather the needed resources. Men going above and beyond to answer the call of others’ needs. Men who at the bottom of the barrel themselves but had found new purpose and new life.
These were men who, in their previous life, would ignore or even prey on those in a weaker plight than themselves. Some were recently out of prison for murder, systematic theft, robberies and felonies of all types. They had been generally people you wouldn’t want to meet alone walking a street at night. Others had been those who had given up on life and cared about nothing and nobody.
New life. New creations.
Now, Christ was their all-in-all. And it showed. They weren’t ashamed to live the gospel. They no longer believed anger was strength and compassion weakness. Their thinking had flipped. They discovered that power in Christ was strength unfailing. Those who had been dearly afraid of public speaking eagerly volunteered to address the large group in the morning or evening chapel to testify what Jesus had done for them. They were miracles of the Savior’s loving goodness. They were now living epistles written and authored by Christ, Himself.
Jesus does save! It’s His purpose to give life where the desert of death claims its victims, robbing the grave of its prey.
Will there be few in heaven? I don’t believe so! Heaven will be a nicely crowded reunion!
Words, as usual, fail me. However, for me to witness such dramatic transformations in Christ is a sight to behold. Such an image of experiences I will never forget, neither will I ever take those experiences for granted.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” John 8:36