Not Just a God of Second Chances
Do you know we serve a God of many chances...and not just second chances; Jesus said to forgive 7 times 77 because of how much He forgives us. The other day I was taking some pictures of kids who were getting baptized when I saw a familiar face. I was so surprised to see her. It had been a while and now she was at church to get baptized. I was thrilled!
There are certain kids that I meet once in a while, that just need that special hug. The kind of hug that says, “I don’t care what you have done or where you’ve been, I just love you.”
Well at first when I saw her I went to give her a high-five but she knew she could get a hug from me and so she opened her arms wide and I just held her tight. Have you ever hugged someone as if it could take your breath away? They long to be held as if to say, “I know you understand.” That’s how it is in my relationship with the Lord, especially when I am going through something very difficult. I get into His word, and it’s as if He loves or hugs me through His comforting words.
So I told her to meet me in the church coffee shop and I’d buy her something to eat. She told me that she was homeless, 20 years old, and living on the streets. She then asked if I had any blankets in the warehouse that I could give her. I had to tell her I was sorry because we just gave them all away the night before. There was however one thing I could offer her, a warm bed at my house. She accepted, wide-eyed and appreciative. Some warned me not to take her in. They said she had burned a lot of bridges, she had been doing drugs, and she was not to be trusted. All I could say was that she sounded a lot like me before I became a Christian.
My kids and I got in the car along with this girl and the first thing she said was, “Thank you so much. Do you know how cold it is out there? Thank you so much.”
My kids were excited to be having company. When we got to our house I explained to her that God calls us to have wisdom and discernment, and in order for her to stay with me she had to allow me to search her stuff. I told her I had to look out for the welfare of my kids, and she said that she understood. I searched her and found nothing. After changing the bedding on my daughter’s bed, I tucked in our guest and my daughter slept with us.
All night I could hear the warnings of the enemy, “You know she probably has drugs on her. You heard...she’s a user.”
In the morning I let her sleep in until around 9:30. I made her some bacon and eggs and then yelled upstairs for my kids to wake her up, but they yelled back that she wouldn’t. But then I heard her starting to get up. I went upstairs and she was in the bathroom.
I said, “Breakfast is ready downstairs.” She asked if she could shower first. I said, “Sure.”
The enemy was taunting me, “What if she is stealing things from you while she’s in the bathroom?”
So as I folded my laundry I talked to the Lord. “Lord, I know this stuff will all burn one day, it’s just stuff, but would you please give me wisdom to handle this.” And He did.
When she got out of the shower I asked if I could search her again. She said, “No problem, I understand.”
So I searched her and again found nothing. I told her to come with me and took her into my bedroom. I said, “You can have anything you want in here, as long as it is mine. You can take any of my clothes, jewelry, lotions, shampoos, cream rinse...anything that you might need or want you can have.”
She laughed and asked me, “why?”
I said, “Because you could have brought drugs to my house, and you could have stolen from me, but you didn’t. You see, God rewards us when we do things right and so I am going to show you some of His rewards.”
She went over to my stuff and could have taken anything but only took 3 bracelets and a bottle of lotion. My 3 year old daughter, who had been watching, then took our guest into her room and told her that she could have any of her clothes and even asked if she would like to have her new brush and hair ties.
The girl just looked at me and asked, “Is that okay?”
I said, “Of course that’s okay. I want her to think of others.” I looked at my 3 year old and said, “God must be so proud of you!” Then I asked our guest, “Is there anything else you need?” She needed some underwear, so I said, “Those we can buy.” And we did.
Later, I called a friend of mine to find out if she would be able to take in our house-guest. She said that she would love to and could let her stay for at least two weeks and then see what God would do from there. Even though this lady has a big family and a busy schedule I knew she would do it with open arms. While driving the girl to my friend’s house she told me how tired she was of going from home to home and that she honestly wants to be right with God. She’s been sober for 2 weeks and told me how she wishes that she could just die and be in heaven already.
So I offered God’s reassurance; that He has a plan for her, because I was also once a messed up kid but that God can use messed up kids like us to bring Him glory. Since I went through similar things myself I could really relate to her and encourage her, hoping she might be able to help someone with the same kind of compassion she had received and see that God really does cause all things to work together for good to them love Him and are called according to His purpose. It made me think, “Wow! His word truly is alive and active!”
Well, we made it to my friend’s house and I introduced the young girl to her. At first you could see this girl was feeling awkward, but after I introduced them we all sat down, came up with a plan, and she seemed to feel much better. Tomorrow I am going to try and get her birth certificate to help her get a California ID. Then this weekend a couple of friends and I are going to look for a bike for her. That way she can have transportation and get a job. (Ask...seek...and knock...Luke 11:9)
Brothers and sisters, we need to pray for opportunities like these, asking God for wisdom and then being willing to act. While some wanted to give up on her...He will never give up! With God, those things that seem impossible are made possible.
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)