In our weekly "chapel" on Wednesday, we had an emergent-like voice and young man (young to me, anyhow) in Roy Clark. The guy was funny, but above all, passionate, about living out his faith and doing so to meet the needs of boys in the west Michigan (largely Grand Rapids) community, a majority in the inner city having no father.
And Roy's main point was, week after week after week after week, yes- after week.... being there! Meeting with them. And simply listening. Not saying a word. Just listening.
These are boys caught in a web of systemic evil or vicimization and poor choices. A good number mixing it up in gangs. Some, I believe in prison, or on tether. Many on waiting lists for many months. One for five years. No one to meet with him. No one has the time.
So Roy figured he could take on 12-24 a month. And recruit men to meet with hundreds and hundreds more (into the thousands- I should have taken notes I guess).
Roy was meeting with a rough gang guy, week after week after week... Then one day the guy said something that Roy thought was dumb and offensive. Namely that he didn't need Roy to mentor him, but maybe just meet with him as a friend. And that Roy in his life was no better off than him! Roy, in looking back on it, in pride, missed a week!
The phone rang. A mother's voice. The boy's mother! And emotional, persistent. And being used by God to bring Roy to his senses. Yes, Roy agreed he would be seeing her son the next week, and the week after that....
So the next week they meet again. Roy admits why he did what he did (as he had to his mother). And then the boy asks Roy about his wife and adopted children. He wanted to know how the adoptions took place. That in itself is another story, and a good, God story: of God's goodness, mercy, faithfulness and love. Roy saw that this big boy was being moved emotionally as Roy told him that story. Roy was able to begin to really share about his faith in Jesus, and of God's goodness and work in the life of his family.
Being there. At least half the battle. Are we stepping into God-possibilities? Often the greatest blessing comes when we go when we really would rather not.
And knowing where to be, at what time, is also important. Too many have left their families behind. Are we being there for them, as well?
Lord, Help us to be there, and in being there, so find you there with us. In your work and transforming love. Amen.