Have you personally experienced those moments where you wonder, “Where is God?” I think we’ve all been there at some point and for me it was the church and the relationships in a community of faith that kept me going. We often hear that its not the building that makes us a church its the people… as cliche as that may be, its true.
About a week ago I was talking with some staff and volunteers at the office and our Facilities Manager politely interrupted and said, “Frank, there is a young woman here that would like to speak with a pastor.” So I quickly stopped what I was doing and made myself available. Typically when situations like this occur (someone needs some sort of immediate food or financial assistance) I refer them to someone on our staff to receive assisatance, but this conversation went in a little bit different direction. This gal didn’t really ask for anything. The conversation went a little like this:
I introduced myself, we sat down in my office and I said, “What’s up? What brings you in today?”
She replied, “I don’t really know why I’m here. I’m having a rough time right now, things just aren’t good. I haven’t been in a church for a long time but after leaving school today I felt like I should come in. Kinda weird. ”
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Oh, tell me about this rough time”
She continued, “My mom just got evicted from her apartment, took my son to Nebraska, and now I’m homeless. I’m working and trying to finish High School at the same time. It’s hard as I’m just beginning to figure out where I can get help. I don’t want to go with my mom.”
“Why don’t you want to go with your mother?” I asked.
“Trouble.” She replied, “Lots of trouble, and here in Rochester I haven’t had that happen. Since I’ve been here I haven’t had a run in with the police at all.”
“Well, I’m glad you stopped here, sometimes God uses difficult moments to show us something different about ourselves, or point us to something new,” I answered. “I’d like to introduce you to Kevin, he’s one of our pastors and he’s been here a lot longer than I have. He’ll know some other places with the resources to help you get on your feet, finish High School, and move forward with your life.”
Then she stopped me in my tracks and firmly stated, “Hang on, I don’t even know why I’m here. This is probably just another dead end, I should go.”
“You HOLD ON,” I said. “Maybe there is a reason you’re here. Look, the church is exactly what I think you need. I don’t know how I would have handled my challenging moments with out a church family. If you want this to be a dead end for you today that is your choice. You can walk out of here today and it will be a DEAD END. The church is all about having God’s people with you when you can’t handle life alone. You said your mom is in another state. Mine is too! My brother’s are in California and Hawaii and my parents live in Florida. If it weren’t for this church I’d feel completely alone here. If you make the decision to be a part of what God is doing right here, I can tell you that your life will change. You will have people that will be there for you to celebrate success and listen or pray with you through the difficult times. Just like the challenges you’re facing today. What does that sound like to you?”
“Hmmmm…” she paused a while and quitely said, “That sounds like… that sounds like hope”
“I’m glad to hear you say that,” I replied. “That just happens to be the name of our church!”
I then handed this young woman my card and she stared down at the logo for a few moments. As her eyes began to water up she said, “Whoa, that’s weird.”
We talked for a bit and I introduced her to some of our staff that was around that afternoon, I sincerely hope that this young woman allows our church the privilege of helping her find her way in life. It would be great to get the chance to demonstrate who Jesus is and how God can change her life.
How has God been using you as an instrument of hope?