There is definately a season for staying home more often. New babies, harvest or planting time, sickness, weather are all good reasons to hunker down and focus more on the home life.
When I do venture out, I find God is drawing me out of my shell and showing me the world out there. I must confess, I would like to squeeze my eyes shut and retain my peace. It's kind of like when those uncomfortable commercials come on with pictures of starving children on them. I'd like to just flip the channel and pretend that starvation is not a reality in this fallen world.
BUT, Jesus lived a compassionate life amongst the hurting people. He loved them and comforted them and brought healing in their midst. As a Christ follower, I am called to do the same. I have had a tendency in the past to go "amongst" them and judge them for the position they are in or be so busy that I completely ignore the stranger in the check out line. We are called to "entertain strangers" because we may be entertaining an angel unaware. The Lord has been changing my proud heart and teaching me to love. We live in a small town and we are a larger than normal family. We are known in Walmart, Neimans, farmers market, etc. I want those people. The check out ladies in Walmart to KNOW that Jesus loves them. It has taken the Lord to show me how important it is to smile, to talk to people, to get to know them a little bit. Then watch Him work. Hurting people are every where. The desperation and pain I see in their eyes and hear in their stories renders me speechless.
Daniel and I were in Walmart the other night. We were on a date with just Elijah. As we were checking out, one of the check out girls came up to take over. I was wondering how her baby was doing, but didn't say anything. She said something about it being the 5 month anniversary of something, I couldn't hear. Daniel asked her if her baby was going to be 5 months old. No, it was the 5 month anniversary of her baby dieing of SIDS the next day. Mouth drops open. Tears form. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. We saw her every week. And had no idea. Maybe I judged her for her uncombed hair or her general apathy. Maybe I didn't go in her lane on purpose because she made me uncomfortable. God is teaching me to love.
As we were reading Ezekial the other morning. (I am being obedient and reading this book of the Bible. I KNOW that all of God's Word is inspired, but I struggle with some of these books!)
I read this...
And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
As we see and hear the abominations that are going on in our towns, our states, our countries... What is our response? I am praying that my response will be one of love & compassion & heart wrenching & weeping for the people around me. God cares immensely about our hearts response to abortion, homosexuality, drug addicted people, the people displaced by Sandy, the people you come in contact with, the people I come in contact with... Only by the grace of God, I am saved and the Lord has decided that today, my home is going to stand. Today, my children are going to live and thrive and be healthy. Today, God is living in our home. Today, we are imperfect, flawed and yet, still forgiven and loved. Only by the grace of God!
May we have the heart of Jesus and cry out, "Father, forgive them! They just do not know what they are doing!"
It's important to notice in Ezekial, that the judgement started at the church...
In His Grip,