She is dying. She is a recent graduate of the half-way house and her life has been ravaged as a consequence of the poor choices she has made over the years. Her wish was to see her grandchild once before she passes. It was a small thing to ask around and arrange transportation for this meeting but it means the world to my friend. It is often the small things (the mustard seed things), that make way for the God moments in life.
Sometimes, I think I miss the God moments while waiting or working toward something big!
I was reminded of this as I spoke at Crandall University this week. My topic was “Confronting Evil in Mission” I would have liked to tell a story of some grand encounter with evil ending in a dramatic exorcism but I felt I should probably remain in the realm of truth rather than stray into fiction. This is not to say that I do not encounter evil. I do so regularly. I see the evil of addiction ravage the lives of my friends. I see the evil of racism and sexism. I see the evil of consumerism, individualism, and careerism every day. I would love to say words of exorcism and command these things to be gone, bound and thrown into a bottomless pit somewhere; but that is not the way of things.
Just because I cannot rid the world of this host of evil “isms” does not mean I am powerless. God does want me to confront these things. The weapons of my warfare with evil are not to be fleshly ones but heavenly ones and powerful ones! The title of the course I was a part of is “Perspectives” and it is from this perspective of spiritual warfare that I can successfully encounter evil.
Paul echoes Jesus teaching in Romans 12 when he admonishes us to ‘bless and curse not’. The other day I ‘ran into’ one of the drug dealers who poisons our streets with his product. Such anger rose up inside me that I knew I was getting out of step with God. I was reminded that I was to love him and bless him. In my head I had a conversation with God that went something like this. “I don’t feel like blessing this guy!” “What would you do if you did feel like it?” “Do that!” I strode up to the fellow and told him I was praying for him that God would be very near him everywhere he went that day and that Jesus presence would shine on him in all his activities. I wished him a good day knowing that if my prayers were answered his plans would be smashed.
I am convinced that if all of Christendom could react in similar counter-cultural ways that we would see evil beat back. Jesus’ way is light and life. The darkness has never understood or overcome this light. We can be light bringers only if we choose to set aside our fleshly ways and embrace the ways of the Kingdom.
I have including a photo of the kind of ‘high yield’ urban gardening we are planning. Some folks have asked.