We met a middle aged lady this week while out in the harvest. Our normal approach is to begin our conversation by stating that we are followers of Christ and are out in the neighborhood praying for the community and we ask if there is anything they would like us to pray about. This lady was obviously distraught and seemed in a rush. The words which came out of her mouth shocked me. She begins to voice how angry she was with her drug dealer because he didn’t have enough drugs on hand for her to OD. We spoke with her for the few minutes that she was willing to give us and then when we asked if we could pray for her, she stared at us for a second and then rushed across the street. My harvest partner that day is in Recovery and his next words hit me hard. He said, “She’s set on finding the drugs.” Basically, she wants to die.
I couldn’t get her response out of my head. The area I minister in is full of those caught in the darkness of this addiction. They run towards it with an inability to think about anything else. As I walk down these streets, just about everywhere I look is someone whose eyes have lost that light. My heart goes out to these people. I enjoy just sitting and talking with them and trying to remind them that there is a God who loves them so much. I have prayed with those who are pleading for the demonic oppression to end. Only here, in all of my years of ministry, have I prayed so boldly in Jesus’ name that those demons would flee. It is a reality and you will see it most clearly out in that harvest not cocooned away in our safe places we often create.
I have never cried so much as I have here. When I am alone at night in my apartment, all of what I have seen and heard during the day just rushes through my head. It is hard to escape it, but it is also the fuel for each day to get back out there on those streets. The Gospel message that God has a design and a purpose for our lives and that He can bring us out of that brokenness is the hope they need to hear. Many of the guys who join me out in the harvest have lived and understand that recovery life. They are living in recovery now, but it is a recovery that is happening because they have accepted that what Jesus did on the cross in taking on our sin and brokenness and restoring us to a right relationship to God is the only way to true recovery. Their recovery and ours is made possible through Him. This is the message of the cross. Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor; freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; to set the oppressed free. Luke 4:18 And He left us with the mission to continue that work and to proclaim His finished work on that cross.
We are all poor in one way or another. Prisons come in many forms. We all have our addictions. We all need to be set free! Only through the One who bore our sin can we truly be set free! Get out in that Harvest and proclaim it.