Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…”- 1 Corinthians 1:27

God has done exactly that.

Each of my days are different; however my mornings are a consistent routine.  I can list what I do, and the order I do them.  It wasn’t until this past Saturday afternoon I realized my heart and mind have followed a routine as well.  Unfortunately, it is shameful.  Take a look for yourself…

I woke up on a bed, in a house, with air-conditioning.   
Curse you alarm clock!

I stumbled to a bathroom, with running water, and endless amounts of TP.   
Still contemplating why I was awake.

I had two cups of coffee. Scrambled eggs. A bowl of Fruit. All housed by appliances and cookware allowing me to enjoy such delicacies.
Rather than enjoying my meal, I rushed through it complaining how late I was going to be.

I showered in cool running water and used an assortment of cosmetic items. Shampoo. Conditioner. Body Wash. Shaving Cream.  Razor. Face wash. Make-up. A brush. Curling iron. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Lotion. Deodorant. Perfume.
All of which go un-noticed, as they are expected commodities in my every day life.

I thumbed through a closet full of clothing and an array of shoes…
Only to catch my thoughts thinking upon the clothing I wish I had.

I hoped in my brand new car filled with gas, cranked on the AC, and blasted the beats from my iphone…
Only to be distracted by the Mercedes SLK that passed me on the highway.

My morning routine was conducted as normal, but as I arrived at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, God started to shed light to my unconscious routine of thankless thoughts.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, …. to bring to nothing things that are”- 1 Cor. 1:28

Within minutes of passing out water and outreaching to the homeless in down town, I realized it was myself who was in need of "outreaching".

Andrew has a rash spreading on his body due to constant sun exposure.  The lack of shade on Arizona streets leaves his skin in agony and filled with open sores.
His face never lacked the presence of a smile. He was overjoyed with thankfullness from our willingness to listen to his story and bring him cold water.

Tony fights for a second chance at life, as he was recently released from prison.  He prays for strength to return sober to his family 400 miles away in the coming three months.  
Mean while, his only possession is the Bible.  He spends his time translating Gods Word in Spanish in hopes his unbelieving friend might come to know Jesus as His personal Savior.

LeBrie is 3 months away from delivering her precious baby girl.  She seeks Gods favor to provide a shelter once her daughter is born.  She was burdened, but sought out anyone who might pray with her.
After an extensive talk to the Lord, her embrace and tear-filled eyes exuded a light of hope.

Tanya had nothing but a hat on her head and yet she possessed the biggest smile I have ever seen on anyone’s face. Despite being on the streets, with no confidence of incoming food or shelter, she had three prayers: for Jesus to become her best friend, for God to provide her with a Bible study group, and the skies to pour down rain.
The Bible and bottle of water we left her with will never compare to the permanent picture forever framed in my mind of her bear hug and shining grin.

John asked for food and water.  We had nothing left but a few celery sticks, cucumbers, and a half empty bottle of water.
With a smile he said “I’m not a fan of celery, but I bet I can find someone who is. Thank you for the water and your kindness to a stranger.”

I hoped in my air-conditioned car to return to a full refrigerator and loved ones.  There is no doubt God used the weak to humble me in my shame.  My routine each morning has not changed, however God transformed my heart from unconscious thanklessness to a heart of rejoicing. I can boast not in what I have been given, but rather in the One who gives all things. If stuff was the the reason to rejoice, then the people I encountered that Saturday afternoon should not have had any reason to be thankful. My heart has not been transformed because of my enlightened awareness to all I have, but rather to the One who gave. My stuff and routine mean nothing without my first love Jesus.  Don’t be mis-taken, I am thankful for the tangible things I have, but my heart rejoices because I am now able to see Jesus in each moment, rather than floating blindly though life as a shameful mess.

“And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, He who became to us wisdom from God, is righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’”- 1Cor. 1:30-31


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  2. Also, I remember reading somewhere a while back that John Piper himself said he preaches the Gospel to himself every morning to refresh his mindset because we humans are so forgetful. I think of this all the time, but your post made me think on it again. We always have to realign our thinking with God's...daily, hourly, minutely!!

  3. You are such an eloquent writer :) Thanks for posting this!!!