You know that house you see on the news? The one with the people crying out front as they discuss the details of an attempted murder they just narrowly escaped? You know how the news crew goes back a year or so later and does a recap of that sad story and proceeds to fill its viewers in on the gory details, the long trial and subsequent charges?
I always find myself watching these stories. Usually the dialogue in my head goes from, "Oh my word, what a horrible tragedy!", "I am so thankful nothing like that happens around HERE!", "Those poor people, their house is all shot up, how can they sleep at night?"
Well, fast forward to this past Monday when I was watching a recap of a story from the local news and instantly recognized the home pictured on the tv screen... IT WAS OUR NEW MINISTRY HOME! Yep, you read that right, our home was on the news. I watched with mouth wide open as the reporter gave details about a stalker, with OUR ADDRESS tattooed on his chest, being obsessed with the previous owner's daughter. He stalked this poor girl, tattooed pictures of her and her name ALL OVER his chest. One night, in an attempt to get closer to her, he arrived at their house, just outside the very door I sit near as I write this post. The dad stepped out to address the situation and that mentally ill man in a fit of rage shot three times. Striking this poor girls father in the lung, kidney and spleen. He was arrested and has since gone to trial for attempted murder where he received 19 years in prison. The dad actually survived the shooting that protected his precious baby girl.
We knew NONE OF THIS INFORMATION when we prayed about moving into and serving this neighborhood. We had no idea that God had bigger and better plans for this home. The precious family that once called this place their home has since relocated to a "Safer" area and we are now doing full-time ministry from the doorstep that was once riddled with bullets. Matter of fact, the bullet holes remain till this day. (They are patched but still visible.)
Now, I could react abruptly and be in extreme fear. What if this guy comes here after his release? What if he starts sending mail here? What if the other people he meets in prison remember our address that is clearly marked in the center of his chest via tattoo?
What if God uses this to heal? What if God uses this as a way for us to connect with our neighbors? What if he allows us to reach out to even one lost soul? What if He takes tragedy and turns it into beauty? What if, as in 2 Chronicles 7:14( "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.") this land is healed...
We never know what resides behind closed walls. We never know the hurt, the pain, the trials and the tribulations. But one thing we know for sure is this: God is the ULTIMATE Redeemer. He is Good ALL THE TIME.
Go out and bless someone today. Go take a meal to a neighbor. Pray for God to guide you... You never know where you may end up and where you may have a chance to serve.
#BeReady #GoAndServe #PrayBold #FeedThyNeighbor #ICantMakeThisStuffUp
If you want to see more about thew news story discussed above, here is the original newscast.