We live in what I like to call a “transitional” neighborhood. It’s not as bad as it may look from the outside, but it’s no master planned community either. It’s old and some of the houses show it, but most of the owners on our block have been working hard to restore and maintain all of our nineteenth century homes. But there is one house in the neighborhood that remains an enormous eyesore. And it happens to be the one right.next.door. Which brings us to today.
We get home from church and pull into the drive. I feel like a third world country has popped up in the neighbors’ back yard. Make shift laundry lines and clothes hung out to dry. Random household items are strewn in the side yard. The remnants of their now weekly “yard sale” linger on the front porch. I get angry and say this has to be stopped. I’m going to call the landlord, I fume.
We come inside and prepare to lay down for the Sabbath’s rest. A perfect 72 degrees outside, the bedroom windows are open. I hear profanities being spewed outside my window. Not the rest I had in mind. I’m angrier and begin to try to find the landlord’s telephone number. No luck.
I come back to try to lay down again and begin to pray and my heart softens. Did we not just spend the Sunday school hour discussing what matters most is that people know Jesus? Did I not hear, oh white-washed tomb? Or do I simply not practice in real life that which is so easy to say in a classroom of like-minded friends?
So I pray for them and I pray for myself. I pray that my eyes would be opened to see them like Jesus does, to love them like Jesus does. I pray that the Lord will draw them close and use them (and me) for His glory. And I pray that if I have the opportunity that I will not shy away from telling them about Jesus. From telling them about the only one who can take this heart and make it free to love the unlovable. Telling them about the one who loves them just as they are and who wants to dwell with them and abide with them and make them free as well. And telling them about the one who makes it possible to “give thanks in all circumstances” for this is what He made us for – to praise Him.
Praising Him for just some of the countless blessings…
0842. serving with my girls
0843. building bridges over time
0844. loaves of bread, rising in their pans
0845. doing something different
0846. a friend who brings coffee and an hour of conversation
0847. lunch with a friend, sharing stories and laughter
0848. curtains made
0849. girls’ night out
0850. the mission field next door
0851. four year old’s phone call, just to say “I love you”
0852. surprise new clothes
0853. surprise dinner at a special place on a beautiful patio with my favorite