I walked home my typical route which takes me right across the mission parking lot and through the neighborhood. uhhhhhhhhh . . . I just love this walk home, especially when it is warm and sunny outside. The absolute best part of this walk home is when I walk past the mission and then see some of the kids. The greatest kids ever.
Today was another day of reality for me. As I walk through the parking lot, I look across the street and see the kids - and they see me and I hear them calling my name out across the parking lot, I get so excited and I wave and call back to them as I walk home. Then I see something that makes me realize what summer means around here.
Sitting on a parking block at the far side of the parking lot, between me and the kids- but on my side of the fence, is a guy - smoking a crack pipe. It's not even 6:00 and here he is just casually smoking his crack in the mission parking lot. There is a realization that I don't have any options. I can't drive around the neighborhood, round up all of the crack-smokers and take them far far away from the kids. I can't adopt all of them and keep them safe from seeing this. Then, that still small voice reminds me of something else.
I have power. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. This power, isn't something that means I will be able to pick up and move a mountain at my own free will, but God already knows what He is going to do with this power He has given me. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Soooooo I have confidence that there are huge things God is going to do with me, with all of us down here. I just have to look for these circumstances and be aware of whats going on around me.
So, seeing the kids, with the crack-smoking-man in the same frame of view, I think to myself - what a perfect picture of where I need to be. Those two - my kids and the man - the first, the ones I am laboring to keep from becoming the latter. So I start my walk over to the playground. There is a bar out in the one gate to get across Green Street from the mission, it is the only way to the street without going way out of the way to walk around. Well, as I walk down to the opening, I see that some of the drug-runners of the neighborhood are blocking it. So I change my mind and head back on my path home. As I turn, I see another man, doing the same thing on the steps by the parking lot. Intense. This thing completely surrounds them.
This is warfare. We are well aware of what we are doing down here. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We know this right? So to go after the drug dealers, drug runners or crack smokers directly will not change this neighborhood. Its in need of a spiritual transformation. That is made more apparent to me everyday I live here. I just go back to my knees. I love this quote. . . love love love it. . .
"Every movement of God can be traced back to a kneeling figure." Dwight MoodyIt is so true, and a simple directive about what we must do to truly change this world. Admit that we don't change it. We don't change lives. We love, we turn things over to the Lord in prayer and we wait on Him to use His hands to shape the clay into usable vessels. Just be humble and patient.
Summer will bring many more of these outside and into eyesight.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2