A few years ago I had the opportunity to volunteer for an organization called Crosspoint. We worked with inner-city kids in an area where many families struggled with many different kinds of problems such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and other kinds of intense things. Although every family and every child came from a different situation, being involved in the lives of these kids really opened my eyes, not only to a situation that was very different than mine, but also to experience the love of God in a way that I hadn’t before. I realized at that point in a limited way that I wanted to always work with people who have experienced difficult things.
While I was there, I got to know a girl named Casey. I loved that girl. She was very different than the other kids. She was super smart, super funny, a natural leader, a little rebellious and sarcastic (but I loved it), and she had an incredibly big personality and a strong loyalty to her friends and family. I remember thinking every time I saw her, “Wow, she is such a beautiful girl. She has the potential to do amazing things.” Sometimes I would catch her looking at me like she was trying to figure out if I was worth trusting or not. Who knows what she ever thought about me.
Last night I found out that she was killed in a car accident. She was 14.
I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and stomping on my heart. I hadn’t even talked to her in about 8 years. However, my mind kept flashing back to the smart little girl I used to know. It seemed so impossible that she could just be gone. I have no idea where she was at with God or what has been going on in her life recently. All I know is that she is gone. Just like that.
And I thought, wow, life is such a mystery. Sometimes we get to moving so fast in life and we forget that our lives are really only a breath. What are 80 years really? What are 14? We are here and then suddenly we are gone. And the world simply keeps going.
This morning I literally crumbled before God as my mind kept flashing back to the time when I was working with Crosspoint and the kids. I made so many mistakes. I don’t like who I was back then. If I could go back and change my actions and my attitude, I would change almost everything. But I can’t. I can’t turn back the hands of time. I can’t have a second chance to make an impact on Casey’s life. I can’t change who I used to be.
I think I spent more time back then planning my escape from every meeting and dreaming of the future than I did living in the moment. I wanted to do great things with my life, but I missed so many great moments because I was living ones that didn’t exist yet.
As I wrote down my list of regrets and presented them before God, He confronted me with questions that shattered my heart: You’re afraid that you are still the same person, aren’t you? You wrote down that you were unfaithful. What if you still are?
As I let those thoughts sink in, I heard Him whisper to my heart, “But you see, it doesn’t matter. If you are unfaithful, I am still faithful. I will always be faithful to Casey, and I will always be faithful to you.”
I thought about our ministry right now in Ambato, and about how afraid I often am to fail those to whom we are reaching out. I thought about the many ways I feel that I failed Casey. Suddenly, I felt a peace as I realized the depth of what God had told me. It’s not about me. It is all about God.
What is my goal in ministry? I thank God for the opportunities we are given to remember that. I am here to point others to Him. I am here to call others to a personal relationship with Him. It is not about me. It’s not about what I have to offer someone. It’s about what Christ has to offer them. I am just a clay pot with holes and cracks and imperfections of all kinds. I can do the best I can, but it is not enough. I am not what they need. However, this Jesus – He’s the One worth looking at. He’s the One worth knowing, and He is all the reason for this clay pot to keep on reaching out.
2 Corinthians 4:5 says, “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
You see there are millions of Casey’s out there who have been through a heck of a lot of things. I thank God for the opportunity that I had to know Steve and Martha, to be a part of the Crosspoint crew, and to have a front row seat to their passion and selfless love for the time that I did. In this life, time marches on and passes so quickly…and in a lifetime of experiences and friendships, there are truly only a few that make a lifetime impact on us. My experience with Crosspoint was one of those few things that will forever mark my life and my ministry.
However, I can’t forget that right now I find myself in Ambato. I am once again surrounded by people who are searching. So I continue to reach out – not because I am anything special; not because I am sure that I won’t fail them. I continue to reach out because I know a God who never fails. I keep going and giving it my all because of His love and because He is the One who is offering just what they need.
And I need to give my regrets to God. Maybe I wasn’t who I needed to be, and I’m not saying that it didn’t matter. However, because of God’s forgiveness I can leave the past in His hands and offer to others TODAY what they truly need: Him. They don’t need me, but God chooses to use me to show them Him. So I will do that. I will take their eyes off this imperfect person and lead them to the only One who will never fail them.
Because this life we have is only a breath, but the love that God offers us is eternal. Thank You, Lord, for being faithful to me. May Your faithfulness shine through the cracks in my life so that others might come to know Your faithfulness as well.
And love Casey’s family for me. Hold them close. Be more real to them than life itself. Thank You for blessing me with the opportunity of knowing her for the three years that I did. She truly touched my life.