The Hardest Cases

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“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Jesus takes hardest cases.  Praise God!!!  I thank Him today that He isn’t wearied by me or frustrated.  I thank Him today that He doesn’t get tired of answering the same questions over and over (like I sometimes do with my 4 year old).  I thank Him today that if I am broken, wounded, messed up, acting out, speaking out of turn, even being rude…He doesn’t give up on me or walk away.  He doesn’t kick me out of His Kingdom.  He doesn’t turn away   or walk away.

Even after all these years, He wants to bind up my broken heart, He wants to heal my wounds, He wants to give me beauty for the ashes.  He is solid and steadfast.  He is absolutely willing to take on the hardest cases and walk us into paths of righteousness for His namesake.

Your heart isn’t too hard for Jesus.  He’s an expert in hearts.

I was thinking about this the other day.  Over and over, I have been hearing about people who seem to have strayed from the faith; spiritual orphans.  Several friends I grew up with who are no longer attending church.  The stories of people who have been hurt, used and abused at the hands of ministers or churches is heartbreaking.  Yes, it is shame…the churches’ great shame  is that people are not safe and protected within her arms.  But the church isn’t Jesus, she should be like Jesus and some are but there are no perfect churches.  Any time we get our eyes off of Jesus (and focused on the church), negative things are bound to happen. That does not justify the church’s actions or inactions.  The church has much to repent for.  But don’t give up on church because we are called to meet with other believers…keep looking until you find one that fits.

I hope to one day be a person who, like Jesus can take on the hard cases.  I hope that I don’t give up on people when they act up or act out.  I think of it in terms of kids…you sometimes have to take that kid that is throwing the biggest fit and hold them really tight until they feel the comfort of being tightly held.  Our baby boy (the twins) was like that.  This is one of the saddest things to me:  Thankfully, most mom’s will never have to experience detoxing your newborn.  We have.  It can take up to three months for some drugs to be completely out of the system.  For the first three months, every evening around 5 pm, our babies would cry inconsolably for at least an hour.  Until they wore themselves out.  They weren’t wet, or hungry for food…they “needed” the drugs they been given regularly in utero.  The only thing that would calm baby boy down was to hold him really tight.  We also had these baby coats we called “sleeping jackets”.  The were really, really warm and the babies were so tiny when they came home.  Baby boy was only 3lbs at birth so the little coat swallowed him up but it was winter so we would get their little arms and legs into it and zip it up.  They would almost immediately fall asleep.  There may have been one or two times when sleep wasn’t coming that we would put the jackets on and they would go to sleep and then we would unzip the jacket so they wouldn’t sweat too much.  It was the warmth of being cocooned that brought on the sense of safety.

Our inclination as leaders is to write off difficult people.  It certainly isn’t to pull them closer and hold them tightly.

There was (probably still is) a sweet lady at Promiseland San Marcos, named Sandra (I think).  Very pretty lady, a little older than me, blond and a little on the heavy side. One Wednesday or Sunday we were sitting near her and she gave me a hug.  I don’t know what was going on in my life but she hugged me and she didn’t let go.  I don’t remember what was going on but I remember that her hug was healing.  I believe that there is healing in human touch.  As much as there is hurt in some touches there is healing in some touches.  There are some hugs that need to linger.  When she hugged me that day, it felt like Jesus was wrapping His arms around me.

That person in your life who seems difficult or challenging….cover them in prayer.  Reach out.  Hug them.  Keep hugging them and keep praying.  Don’t give up because Jesus didn’t give up on you.

As every foster parent knows…the worst behaved people are almost always the most wounded.

Don’t kick wounded people.

Jesus is nice.  Be like Jesus.  Be nice.

Learn to bring correction by training and not waiting for problems/issues/situations to arise.  To bring no correction to a situation, but to “wait” for “mature” people to work things out only leads to the the situation spreading and affecting more people.  Most of the time the most loving thing you can do for someone is correct them; get them back on course.

Since we foster and we have different kids from all different background coming into our home.  There are two phrases we often use: “In our house, we…..” or “In our family, we….”   We established this some time ago and it was confirmed in us this past weekend at a “Family Camp”.  For example, you will probably hear me say this one, “In our family, we tell each other the truth.”  Or “In our house, we don’t hit each other.” or, “In our house, we share.”  (ours are obviously designed for small children in mind).

It’s okay to go to someone and say, “In our church, we appreciate, honor and promote the gifts in each other.”  (in other words, we do not tear each other down…we build each other up so cut it out).   It is easier to teach good leadership than run around putting out fires of poor leadership.

What have we learned today?  Jesus loves me even when I am the hardest case around.  He is still willing to work with me.

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