Tonight at youth group, our youth director created several stations where students could practice actively praying in the way of Jesus. One of the stations was a long sheet of poster paper hung on the wall. Here, students could write or draw some aspect of their relationship to God, a prayer need, what heaven might look like, what makes them cry out to God, and so on. Rather than simply watching, I chose to participate. The drawing in the photo is the result. I attempted to draw myself crying out to God for my neighborhood and my city. A chain link fence is nearby; the city skyline rises in the distance. It’s a poor depiction of the myriad conflicting realities of my urban culture. So much beauty, so much pain and ugliness. Disappointment and hope grappling in conflict.
I wonder, who am I Lord that you should give me the responsibility to wade into the cultures swirling around me? What do I possibly have to offer? Then I remember, it isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus Christ and his love for the lost. And I cry out, ashamed at my lack of courage, and pained by the hopelessness I see in the eyes of my neighbors.
It is a hopelessness and despair which is hidden under the veneer of worldly certainty and demonic deceptions via spiritualities which deny the person and work of Jesus. It is a callousness due to the comforts of immediate gratification. It is a complete lack of spiritual awareness concerning the truth of the gospel, and our part in God’s grand story.
Enter the simple truck driver, middle-aged and graying. Just the sort of person who, with many others, God might use to disturb the lifeless urban waters in a forgotten neighborhood.