Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

When I'm Found in the Desert Place...

Have you ever been there? That place where it seems God is not with you? I have been going through there recently. It is not a pretty place.

I have come to the conclusion that the Desert Place is where God sends His Green Berets for survival training. During my time in the desert, I was struggling to figure out why I was there. I thought I'd been doing pretty well in my prayer life and reading the Word. I thought I'd been doing pretty well in reflecting God's Light. But I was still lost and lonely without Him. Thus my conclusion. And, shortly after arriving at that conclusion, I find this NASA Image of the Day:

Mercury 7 after Desert Survival Training

This is the Original Mercury Seven returning from Desert Survival Training. No, they're not pretty. The third from the left is, perhaps, the most famous - John Glenn.

So, here I am in the desert place. No, I haven't come out of it, I'm still here. But I have to go on about my daily life. And that includes Thursday nights with Doug at the prison. I cherish these moments with Doug - I'm there to lift him up, and always leave feeling lifted up myself. Anyway, Doug asked me about this very subject. It seems he's here as well.

We started looking up passages in scripture relating to times it feels that God is not with us. Several of the Psalms, written by a man after God's own heart include phrases about God not answering when I call. Job, described by God Himself as a blameless and upright man who shuns evil asked why God has ignored his pleas. And one passage in particular from Daniel - Daniel has fasted and prayed for three weeks seeking an answer from God. The angel tells him that he was trying to come, but the prince of Persia was detaining him and he had to get a higher-ranking angel (Michael) to help him get through.

Then I asked Doug, "Have you ever spent any time in an actual desert?" He had not. I, however, lived for two years in the Nevada desert, an hour's drive from the nearest grocery store. It was a place with little shade for the trees were few. The heat was oppressive and unbearable in the summertime. The environment was stark and barren with only sticks poking up from the desert floor. If you wanted water, there was none to be had - even an hour after a rainfall the puddles were dried up.

But even in the midst of the desert, there is amazing beauty. You can go up the mountains and find trees, water and shade. The nights are cool, and wonderful for sleeping. And springtime in the desert is an amazing time when all those dried up sticks bloom with incredible color. And don't forget that there's no humidity like there is in Houston all year long...

I told him, "If you're in the Desert Place, find a place of beauty. It's there. And that's where God is."

Then I had to fess up - I didn't come up with that line. I believe the Holy Spirit put that one on my heart. Both because Doug needed to hear it, and I did too.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dare I Say?

Sex Offenders. Just the words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of parents across the nation. And, I'm no different than any other parent. With two daughters, I want them to be protected from the sick, twisted minds that prey upon others.

But, at the same time, I feel torn between this rabid desire to protect my family and a mission field to which I've been called: Prison.

As I work in the prisons, I have met sex offenders. Their stories are hard to believe until you look it up in court records. A common case involves the 18-year-old with a 16-year-old girlfriend. She gets pregnant and her father has him incarcerated for child molestation. In many ways, the father is right. But had this happened one year earlier (a 17- and 15-year-old), there would have been no legal case. Now, the boyfriend is a registered sex offender.

Society has recently begun clamping down on sex offenders; in many cases this clampdown is proper. Too many adults are harming young children. When I hear about the 40-year-old who has molested a 6-year-old, I burn with rage. But this is actually a small percentage of sex offenders.

Recently, my local homeowner's association has announced that they are trying to take steps to keep sex offenders from residing in our neighborhood. How do I stand on this?

If I were to agree with the HOA, I would be guilty of not giving people a fair shake. The very people I have begun to speak up for are the people I would be hurting.

I find it hard to stand up for them, however, because I am just as afraid as the next parent that something horrible will happen to my daughters.

It would be easy to side with society, saying that it is in the interest of public safety. It would be easy to face my neighbors with the knowledge that I have done what they believe to be right.

But could I face the men I work with three times every week knowing that I have chosen an easy road simply because it was easy or because I was afraid? Would I be able to fulfill my calling in the prisons? Would I be right in doing so?

I believe that we are all called to answer to a higher Authority - an Authority that loves all people unconditionally, regardless of their past history. To do otherwise is to tell the Supreme Authority that we are not worthy of His grace and mercy.

Should the halfway house remain in my neighborhood? I'm praying about that. I'm praying that I will be guided by the Lord to remain true to His Word. I'm praying that I will remain true to His calling in my life - to stand up for those who have served their time and want to make a new start on their lives in His mercy and grace just as I have.