I truly believe that God has a sense of humor… but the kind that is only humorous to Him at times.. You know how moments of humiliation we’ve face are ones we can laugh about now, but at the time it was others who were laughing? Yea, I think He has that kind.
I also believe that Jesus is a lunatic. But not a bad one. He’s radical.. and crazy.. and if He had lived now days instead of back then, I would be the stupid person trying to impress Him so He’d be my friend. Only, He’d be my friend anyway.
Lately, I’m learning how these personalities have played major roles in my life while here in Las Vegas. As I start to plan for leaving… Conversations have shown me a lot of the lessons that maybe I was allowed here to learn.
I have often shared about the time I wanted to walk away from faith. That was the darkest time I have ever experienced.. When it feels that God has left you, everything seems to no longer matter… I wanted to dive into everything to numb that heartache. And by everything, I mean everything. That’s how bad it felt. That kind of story is still left to be told.. but many people have heard about it..
What I want to talk about is how a source I have a hard time with was used to show me how much of a lunatic Jesus really is in how He radically loves me.
I’ve publicly shared the journey of “operation gift for a stranger”. I shared that as a way to show others that they can do something to show someone they matter. But there was something deeper going on that I only realized a few days ago in a conversation with a friend. Well, I knew it.. but there was more to it than that.
This “stranger” was a customer at my job.. a regular one. and I find it interesting how a few of my friends and coworkers were able to see this interaction develop into a friendship. I’m sure a few of them thought I was crazy at some point.. But.. that’s the price to pay for something you believe in.
One day, I started feeling a nudge toward this customer. I think it confused me at first because it wasn’t a strong one… but I couldn’t ignore it. And since I felt it, I attempted to make small talk from time to time. But then, that nudge got stronger and stronger making me feel like I had to do something crazy…. until it was full on.. I was drawn to this person.. It was important to show this “stranger” that she mattered. Hence the “operation”.
Here is why I would want to be friends with Jesus and His crazy self.
As the friendship with this “stranger” started to grow, I found myself watching for her to show up. I waited for her to show up everyday. If we closed early, I set aside coffee just in case she came after closing.. Yes.. it was that serious. It got to the point where I looked forward to coming to work on the chance that I would get to serve her.
But I will admit that it was often frustrating. You don’t want to make that kind of impression without giving the wrong idea and pushing the person away…. so I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed about it. It was frustrating because I didn’t understand it. I knew nothing about this person… and yet, I wanted to encourage her to chase her dreams. I wanted her to feel like she mattered… I wanted her to know she had a place in this world.. and a purpose.. that she was not forgotten or overlooked.. I knew God orchestrated that in my heart… but I wanted to know why. And the more I asked Him, the more determined He made me without answering. All I was able to do was trust that He knew what He was doing, even if this whole situation made me look like a fool.
The more the friendship developed, the more I started to understand bits and pieces. From things I’ve experienced, and people I’ve known, I’m able to pick up on certain things based on simple words said.. so it started to make a little bit more sense the more time passed.
I remember being at work one day, and watching for her…. I remember telling God I didn’t understand this… when He whispered in my ear, “this is how much I love you”.
So just as I watched and waited and chased and passionately wanted this “stranger” to feel like she mattered……. Christ was showing me how much He loves each and every one of us. He loves this stranger, who is now a good friend of mine enough to send someone to chase her down.. He loves me, and you, and each of us the exact same way.. He waits for us.. He watches for us. He wants each of us to feel loved and like we matter and have purpose.
It’s also funny.. because everything I didn’t understand and decided to trust Him on… was not only for my friend, but for me. Through this friendship, I have also learned about grace. In the things I’ve said and the ways I’ve acted, she never saw me as what I was actually acting and sounding like.. Through that, I’m learning that’s how God sees us when we are covered by the blood. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see our dirt and mess and filth that we are stained with. He sees us washed clean..
So when you think that you don’t matter…. just think of this story. Because you do matter. You have a purpose and nothing can change that. There will be plenty you don’t understand… but trust that it’s all orchestrated as a part of a bigger plan.. and when the whole symphony is played, you will see the beauty and perfection of how it all worked together.
God used something important to me to break my heart.. the homeless boys.
God used something normally difficult to show me how He loves me… a customer.
The lesson learned? In the end, He is God… and I’m only me.