He was one of the last few people to come through the line that night. He came for food but left with more. Isn't that the way it always is with God, we come for one thing and we leave with so much more? I came to pray with those who would come through the line for food and I left with so much more.
I asked the man if I could pray with him. He began to tell me all of the things he wanted to pray about. Twice he repeated that he just wanted God to be pleased with the good things he was trying to do so that he might be considered worthy to be with God in heaven someday. It broke my heart. So I did the only thing that I could. I interrupted him and I began to tell him the wonders of God's love.
I told him about what Christ did on the cross and pointed him to the only Way to get to heaven. He replied, "I know all that. I've already prayed and received Him." Then I asked him why he felt he needed to earn his way if he already received Christ as his Savior. He said, " I just want to make sure. It doesn't hurt to double check and pray for salvation again. I guess it's because of my childhood. I feel insecure." Wow!
I can't relate to feeling insecure about Christ's love for me or feeling insecure about my salvation. I committed my life to Him at four years old and I had parents and grandparents who loved me. I was secure in their love. I was blessed to grow up with a church family that regularly demonstrated Christ's love and Pastors who preached it. Until I met this man at food pantry, I had no idea what a difference that makes in one's ability to feel secure in Christ's love.
As our conversation continued God blessed me with the opportunity to share some Scriptures with my new friend. God gave me the words to tell him that he belongs to Christ. He is loved, he is known by name, and he will never be forsaken. We talked about Isaiah 43:1b "Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" Then I told him about Isaiah 49:15-16a, " Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." He couldn't get over it. The God of the universe would not forget him because his name is written on God's hands...he is THAT loved! When we were done talking and it was time to pray, I asked him again what I could pray about and he said, "That I remember all of this."
Christmas, the holiday, has come and gone since that night at food pantry. It occurs to me that Christmas is really every day when we have Christ. When we have Christ we have the wonders of His love. Love that won't leave us and love that knows us by name. Sharing the security of His love with others is a joy and a gift! When we are convinced of His love for us...when we are secure in His love for us, we can't contain it. We must share it. We must share it because there is a world full of people just like my new friend at food pantry. Sometimes we can get intimidated by the thought of trying to share these things with people. Praying with people I don't know at food pantry in recent months has taken me out of my comfort zone. However, it has quickly become the place where I have the most joy and the place where I regularly sense God's Presence. How about you? Do you have any idea how much God loves you? Then share it, be it, radiate it! There is a world full of people who desperately need it!