Here’s a free ticket for five minutes inside my brain.
Over the past couple days, God has been blowing me out of the water. He has invited me into a depth of His heart that I have never experienced before – a profound hunger and necessity for His presence.
One person I have been learning a lot about lately is Heidi Baker. She is a missionary in Africa. It would be impossible to sum up all that God has done through her life in anything short of a biography. By her obedience to the voice and presence of God, she has literally transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of orphans and has inspired people around the world to step out in faith and obedience. She has founded over ten thousand churches in Mozambique. I am one of those that she has inspired and is inspiring right now.
She has made some statements that have captivated my heart today. One of them is that there is no fruit in our lives outside of intimacy in the presence of God, and if there is intimacy, there is fruit. If you think you have experienced intimacy, but there is no fruit in your life, you have not truly experienced intimacy. What I deduct from this is that the number one passion and hunger of our lives should be for the presence of God. Looking out the window of the bus this afternoon I wondered: How can I seek God right now in my life to the point where His presence flows through me so strongly that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and chains are broken?
Heidi told a story in a sermon about a friend of hers from Sri Lanka that had fasted for 68 days and was so full of the energy and presence of God that he ran inside a Buddhist temple and the Buddhist priests immediately fell on their knees and began to worship God. That same presence lives in me! Why have I not totally and completely fallen in love with it? Why do I not spend every moment I can in God’s presence? If it is true that there can be no fruit in my life apart from the intimacy that I share with God, then I should give everything inside of me to figuring out what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Another statement that has been haunting me today is Heidi’s life motto: stop for the one. She has many important meetings, but she is nearly always late, because she encounters a blind beggar, or a small child in need, or the wife of a Muslim priest who needs help peeling peas. If we could wrap our minds around Kingdom priorities, it would astound us the differences we would be called to make. Most of us would say that a church service with over a hundred people is more important than the lady selling fruit at the bottom of the stairs. However, Jesus showed by His example in many instances that sometimes stopping for the one was more important.
I think about my own schedule and our goal of raising up leaders and such. All great stuff. There’s nothing that we do that is not great. However, have I lost my passion for the poor? Have I been walking so fast in my MINISTRY that I have missed the beggars on the side of the road, people that most would call “not worth it”? These people will most likely not become leaders in our church in the next year, but if what I can get out of somebody is my only motivation for giving them the time of day, then I am way off base. I am what you could call a hypocrite, and not because I have consciously decided to be one, but because I have bought into the efficiency scheme. It is not the most efficient thing for me to do to go to the park and sit with those selling popcorn and popsicles, but what would Jesus have done? I have a feeling that He would be down there almost every day. It’s just so much like Him. To what point do I reflect the character of Jesus? What am I teaching my disciples? I want to teach them to love the least of these…with all their hearts.
As I was looking out the window of the bus, I saw two men totally passed out drunk. One man was laying face down in the middle of a park. Some might look at them and think, “Why can’t they get their lives together?” However, I think Jesus would look at them, and like the Bible says so many times, “have compassion on them.” How many times have we taken the time to know their story before judging them? Here’s the kicker: what am I doing for them?
Heidi Baker says that love always looks like something. The key is to ask ourselves, “What does love look like in this situation right now?” I am building a friendship with a lady named Luz. Luz is a beggar on the sidewalk downtown. She literally cannot do anything else, because her legs are horrendously swollen due to some kind of water-retaining illness. We asked her today where she lives and she told us she lives in a hotel. Then we asked her, “Do you have any family or friends here?” She replied, “No, I’m alone.” I gave her the apples that I just bought. In my mind and heart, love looked like apples in that moment. That was what I had.
Another person that marked me today was a young lady that can’t be older than 18. She was holding her baby. She didn’t say a word to me, but her eyes told her entire life story. Street kid. Orphan. Abuse. Sadness. Looking at her, one phrase came to my mind, “tormented soul.”
The other day I sat in a theater behind an orphan that was about 10 years old. I gave him some pieces of paper and a pen so he could draw before the concert began. He gave me his pictures and I realized in that moment that I didn’t need a degree in psychology to understand that this child had experienced extreme torment. I have seen demons in my personal life. This child drew one. Even in the picture where he attempted to draw flowers, there was evidence of oppression. I don’t know where he is right now, but my heart still breaks thinking about an innocent child growing up even knowing about these things, let alone experiencing them. Who gives a demonic picture they drew as a gift? A child who has known true torment. A soul that is crying desperately, “Save me!” And you know what? People who suffer are all around us. We just have to open our eyes.
And it should break our hearts. Why? Because it breaks God’s heart. We have to come to the point where we understand that suffering is not from Him, and that we are responsible for doing something about it.
Love looks like something. Sometimes love looks like bread or apples. Sometimes love looks like a hug. Sometimes love looks like giving money. Sometimes love looks like spending time with someone. The problem is that I don’t ask myself what love looks like often enough. It isn’t comfortable to hang out with beggars. It isn’t easy to have a conversation with them many times. However, those aren’t viable excuses for looking past them quickly and being on our way. God loves them just as much as He loves you and me. Jesus died for them the same way that He died for you and me, and His heart goes out to them every day. Stop for the one. It’s worth it.
Did you know that God LOVES the poor? He is passionate about them! Heaven is for them! I could go on about this stuff all day…but all this is to say: what does love look like for the people around you? When people look at your life, will they say it looks like love? Are you HUNGRY…insatiably HUNGRY…for the presence of God????? If not, BE INSATIABLY HUNGRY for the presence of God. Miracles still happen today. Why do we not see them very often generally? Because we are not overflowing with God’s presence and love. We are satisfied with a morsel from the table of God when we could be feasting every day from the King’s plate. Think about that. Now go live the difference.