For the last year or so I've been meeting with a young man, who is actually attending Washtenaw Community College. Since his schedule is tight I decided I would meet him on campus so that we could have our meeting. We discuss life, goals, faith and ministry and pray for each other. As we were finishing up prayers and getting ready to leave. A middle aged woman shouted over to us. "Can I get some prayer?!" She looked tired and worn from worry. I said "sure come on over." She pulled up a chair and clumsily brought a stack of papers that half spilled on the floor. I picked them up and handed them back to her. She showed me photographs of her young children. She said, "these pictures are old but I love to hold on to them." I could tell that there was probably more to this woman's story than I could perceive, but she continued to share random thoughts and facts about her life, that seemed dis-focused, yet sincere.
She was a messianic Jewish woman who had been in an abusive relationship many years ago. She got out of the marriage, but in turn her three children headed to separate foster care homes. Why? I don't know that part of the story. But she continued to share random facts about her children. Then she abruptly asked me, "will you attend a hearing with me tomorrow?" "I don't have anyone there who will support me." She seemed so desperate, but I felt a tension between compassion and skepticism in the matter. I told her, "I just met you, and am willing to pray for you. Now what's your request?" She hesitated, then showed us a document that she was trying to write for her court hearing. She was trying to regain visitation rights with one of her children. So for some time, TD and I sat and listened and offered some advice on the document. Then I brought us back to the offer of prayer. She started to ramble some words in God's direction, yet not really directly. So I offered again, "may I pray for you?" She agreed.
I prayed for her situation and that God would lead her in truth. Before I got too far in my prayer, she started to blurt out other requests for prayer. I listened for a moment then bowed my head and prayed again. In the prayer I quoted scriptures from Philippians 4, 1 Corinithians 12, Ephesians 2... The LORD's Word is powerful and is like a double edged sword (Hebrews 4:12-14), it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." That is what happened to this woman at the atrium. As I shared the word she got excited. She said, "what?! what was that?! say it again!" Something had hit her. Something had penetrated the misery and sorrow and joy spurred out. I shared with her that in Christ we are one body. One part does not say to another, "away with you! You are not needed!" No! Instead the body (if you are in Christ) loves and cares for its other members. The woman at the atrium was a messianic Jewish woman. The foster care family of her one son were Christian. They should have everything in common in Christ, even if there were mistakes in the past. There is love and forgiveness in Christ! This was a revelation to her. I don't believe she knew the scriptures well, beyond understanding Jesus "is" the messiah that the Jews have been waiting for. But the word of God does not return void. She wrote down the scriptures that I shared with her and I asked her to read Ephesians 2 as well.
TD and I hadn't planned on this encounter. It wasn't on my schedule. However, God had other plans. I believe this is only the beginning of what ministry will be like at Washtenaw. We like Jesus and his disciples are to "go" out into the world and make disciples. There are so many hurting people out there that need Jesus. The cults are out in full force. When the Son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?
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