These last few weeks have been an ever-present reminder of the brokenness of our world; death, disease, and heaviness. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the weight of it like I have recently. Perhaps, it’s due to so many people I know who are sick and being made aware of situations that seem hopeless. Usually, it’s when I’m spinning that Jesus shows up. I don’t mean He shows up as in I feel his peace, although there are many times that happens. I mean He shows up in a tangible and unexpected way.
Yesterday, I was walking out of our ministry organization’s office and there were guests who had come in and were talking at the table in the main office complex. This happens a lot and so as I was walking by, one of our staff members said, “Hey, do you recognize her?” I looked at this woman sitting at the table and did a double take. As soon as I really studied her face, it finally registered who she was. She used to be a regular on our streets; one of the walking dead trapped in addiction.
Last year during the shut down, she would come on Friday afternoons to get coffee and hot meals. Prior to that, she would come to our recovery program’s Friday Coffee time.
She has since completed a 6-month recovery program out of town. Lower Lights was the first place she wanted to visit after graduating.
The one thing that never ceases to amaze and humble me to my core is looking into the eyes of a person who gets clean from drugs. When someone is being strangled by addiction, their eyes are deadened and hollow.
But when they get clean and are in their right mind, there is light and life.
To see someone day after day on the streets with deadened eyes and all the forms of abuse that happens to their body from the street lifestyle, the light is gone. If ever you want to know what hopelessness looks like, look into the eyes of a person who's being strangled by addiction. It’ll crack your soul in half. (If it doesn’t, check your pulse…)
When I say I saw Jesus yesterday, I truly mean it. Countless cups of coffee, hot meals, granola bars, saying her name every time I saw her (there’s power in calling people by name), looking into dead eyes, and then seeing life behind her eyes yesterday was nothing short of Hope.
I needed to see Jesus yesterday to remind me of the deadness and hardening of heart that can occur over time in my own soul. Maybe not drugs or substances, but cynicism, powerlessness, pride because I can’t be God and fix/control things the way I want them to be fixed, writing people off as lost causes because “how many chances do I have to give someone?!,” etc.
Thank you, Jesus, for showing up yesterday and giving me a glimpse of new creation. In a world where death, disease, and decay seem to be ruling the day, Your resurrection life is breaking through.
Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and a gentle heart to still be amazed that You have not left this world you’ve created, but are indeed at work in restoring it back to glory; one life at a time.