In my recent post, “God in the Midst of Parole”, 8/18/17, I shared the testimony of Ms. G. This testimony is an ‘addendum’ to that. After Ms. G entered the residential program, I prepared a ‘package’ for her with encouraging tapes and a cassette player. Before reaching her program, I had to make eight home visits. While I never carried anything while making visits (typically I walked through the neighborhood and needed to have hands free) I made an exception this day and carried this package to the eight home visits.
This testimony was submitted to the tape ministry who provided the sermon tapes.
The Lord really used this package! Parolees whom I visited all asked, “Is that for me?” When I said “no” they responded, “Oh…I thought you were bringing me tapes.” The Lord really lifted my heart, seeing these rough and often troubled ex-felons actually disappointed that a package of Christian tapes is not for them. But I always carry tapes in my safari vest to give out…
This ‘package’ became an object of testimony. One visit that morning was a ‘pre-release’ visit, to meet with family members before the inmate is released. This inmate’s mother, ‘Ms. B’ was very receptive to me and we discussed her son’s release and the home in general. Unexpectedly, this mother opened up and began to speak of her troubles, hardships, and fears.
Her (soon to be released) son had been in and out of prison, never did well, then got syphilis which spread to his brain. Her grown daughter is also in and out of prison and was recently released and has AIDS. Ms. B is raising her daughter’s children whom I met in the home. Ms. B is gainfully employed downtown near Ground Zero and expressed the recurring turmoil and fear she has since the terrorist attacks.
Finally she said, “I never share my troubles like this! I’m sorry to take your time and bother you”. (Actually, I cherish this trust and opportunity). I gently suggested that she might come to church. That invite opened the door to minister the Gospel. I asked her where her daughter was living. She said, “Such and such shelter program.” (Which is adjacent to the residential program where I am taking the package!)
I said, “Ms. B, see this package? I’m taking it to the residential program next to your daughter’s shelter. ” The door opened to share Ms. G’s testimony, how the Lord moved in her life, bringing about change and giving her real hope. Ms. B was so encouraged. I gave her some tapes from my pocket and she asked what our church believes. Her countenance lifted, “Please, make sure you write down the address!”
Yes, God was in the midst of that package but only because He abided in my heart. I believe it is the Lord’s presence and our zeal to share Him that can make anything special in our hand…especially when it’s gifted to others.
Unlike our culture, the Lord never needs or seeks the wealth, resources, the natural talents of people or fancy technology to reveal Himself. Sovereign God of the universe seems to choose ordinary things like a shepherd staff, rounded stones, a basket with fish and bread, even dirt mixed with spit….His spit.
I want an expectant and zealous heart, knowing that the Holy Spirit moves through what seems ordinary, small and humble.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
“Lord, I pray for a renewed zeal for You and for the lost. Help us to see that wherever You place us and whatever You give us has potential for eternal value. Incline our hearts toward Your will and weigh our hearts with desire to fulfill it. Amen.”