Monday, June 29, 2009
Business of Restoring Brokenness
I’m discovering a world that is broken beyond belief, but I have hope in a God big enough to heal all things. This summer has blown me away. I don’t even know where to begin but I will jump right into a story of a man that I met this past week at Harbor Light Salvation Army.
This man was a transient man that just happened to come in for dinner that day. Our group was hard at work running the car wash (washing trays and cups) and on the line (filling up trays with food). I was sitting at the entrance of the room and a man sat down at the table just to my left. I could tell that this man wanted to get in, eat, and leave without much interaction with anyone else, but I decided to give it a shot. So I introduced myself and we exchanged the normal “How are ya’s” and small talk about the hot weather. Then I asked where he was from to which he answered New Mexico. So then came the natural following question, “What brought you to Houston?” He answered, “A car.” Got a laugh out of me. He said, “You asked the wrong question. The question is ‘What did you come to Houston for?’” So I asked him and he said a job. Which he went on to describe was delivering containers that were being unloaded at the port. Then it was my turn to be asked questions. He asked what I was doing there and what the rest of the group was doing. I answered that the group was from a church outside of Dallas. Once he found out that the group was related to a church the tone of the conversation completely changed. He became pretty closed off. It really broke my heart seeing someone who was so turned off by anything to do with God. I’ve had conversations with people who were completely turned off by God, but for some reason this time it cut pretty deep. I could get past this desire from the depth of my being to cry out that this man was God’s beloved creation! However, I knew that anything I would say related to God would be completely shut down. I had been stereotyped as one of those “church people” and there was no breaking through it. But nevertheless, I continued to have a conversation with this man. He asked about what I was doing with my life. I told him I was in college right now and had one more year left. He encouraged me to keep going in school, and he left me with one last piece of advice and that was to live my life in fullness because it’s too short to not soak it up. This is something we hear all the time, right? Live your life to the fullest because you only live once, right? But again, for some reason this man’s words sat heavy and cut to my core. Maybe it was because of his rough kept beard and grimy hair, or maybe his clothes that testified to a long hard days work. I don’t know for sure, but whatever it is, broke through all of my comforts and spoke directly to me. In those short minutes that I had with this man, I felt God break my heart again for those who don’t know what it looks like to be immersed in the love that can only be found in our Creator.
This summer has opened my eyes to a world that is broken beyond belief – from the homeless people on the streets to the children living in broken families or even people who have it all right on the outside but can’t even begin to pick up the pieces on the inside. But brokenness isn’t the end of the story. There have been so many glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking through all over this city! God is showing up in places I haven’t expected. He never ceases to amaze me. So may my eyes continue to be opened to the brokenness in our world so that my heart may be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit to help bring the Kingdom of God to the whole world, and may you who read this remember that we can find hope in a God that is in the business of bringing redemption to all things!
-Nate Williams, CSM Houston Summer 2009 City Host