Learning from the Most Unlikely of Candidates…
December 13, 2016
It seemed like a frozen moment from a stock photo from a church bulletin (yeah that picture is for sure not me). Sunshine on our backs and green grass underneath, I was plopped in my front yard surrounded by three children (two I birthed) Bibles flopped in front of them. He had thrown them down in urgent expectation. “Tell me more,” he said adamantly. “What do you want to know?” I questioned in return. “I don’t know anything! What do I need to know?”
Several minutes prior to this conversation he was crying under my tree because he wanted the lock and key he found of Nate’s (my seven year old) but had been denied due to its special-treasure-birthday-present status. Thinking this was a perfect teaching moment for a young Iraqi refugee boy who temporarily spent the day with us because his momma (my friend) just had a baby… I responded like I would to my own children:
“Well, honey- it’s ok to want things…. even to want them really bad! But there’s a lot of times in life we don’t get exactly what we want. It’s good to give, but sometimes things are very special and they are hard to give.” His response silenced me.
“Yes but I don’t understand. Your people do not give. If I have something and someone wants it very badly, I give it. Why do you not?”
There are moments in life you will never forget, that was one of them. You see, for the last year we had been reaching out to and loving on our new friends- trying our best to love the way Jesus loves. Here I was trying to help out, reach out, serve- whatever you want to call it and my gut reaction was to feel offended. (Does he not understand how Im trying?) I mean- ohhhh, I recognize that tug. The one that puts you in your place? That one. It’s like everything did an abrupt halt and flipped around. I was the student and my little friend became the teacher. So I had him sit and teach us, the Christ followers, what it was like to give away things that he loved to someone else. Teach me, the grown adult Christian woman, that we don’t just give when it’s convenient or easy- but when it hurts. Do you know that his family has invited us to dinner more than any other American family in the year and a half they have been here?
After our teaching moment, Nate gave the lock to him (hallelujah mom moment) and something amazing happened. God used that same lock and key to unlock a little boys heart. And I truly believe that when we allowed ourselves to be taught, he too longed for the same.
Why are we so closed?
Maybe it’s the new friends God has put into our lives, maybe it was traveling to Rio and witnessing hundreds of other cultures. I think having a daughter with special needs has contributed… but this last year I feel like the way I’ve been doing life as a Christ follower has been challenged from top to bottom and caused me to take a long deep look at my walk with Jesus. If I cannot truly value others more than I value myself, then what on earth- literally- am I doing? I so desperately want to see how He sees. I hate racism, bigotry, hypocrisy, favoritism and things counter to Jesus Christ… don’t I? I am beyond grateful for my bold little friend who cut right to the chase. Man do I need that. Called me out! He was genuinely confused by our American Christianity. Father forgive us. Break down those walls. Help me to listen, to learn, to love, to see the way You see.
And for goodness sakes, invite that weird person you met over to dinner already. You might be surprised what doors will unlock… or what friends wait behind.