Our first day had us driving from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico. When we rolled in to our hotel for the evening, we were wiped out, but so excited from the adventure from the day we had endured as a family. We had a semi-decent sleep, and the next morning we were ready to knock down another 750-800 miles.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN....
As I was loading my car, a young man approached and ask for some money. As I looked at him, I asked him why he was in a position to need money from strangers, and why was he homeless. I meant it from the perspective that this is not God's plan for him. He answered and said that his grandmother passed away three weeks before, and he had been living with her in her place. When her apartment came open, he had nowhere else to go. He was now out on the streets. I explained to him that he had just walked up to a pastor who loves Jesus, and was homeless myself at one point in my life. I placed my hand on his head, looked into his face, and told him that this is not what his life was to be about. God had and has a plan for him, and He longs for him to know Him. The man began to cry, and then to sob. He buried his head into my chest and let out a long sob. I hugged him, and let him have this moment, and let God have His moment with His son.
I told him to wait a second, and I ran inside to the free breakfast buffet where my family was still eating, and I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a big cup of coffee. I told Rebekah what was going on, and we quickly got all the cash we had on us, and I returned to him. I showed him the money we had combined together for him, and I gave him his food. He could not believe it. Then the Lord told me to tell him that he is not invisible and that my wife and I were doing this because the Lord was telling us to.
I told him how the Lord longed to know him, and with a Father's heart that he couldn't understand until he experienced the Father's perfect love. He told me that was experiencing it in that very moment! I asked him if he wanted to trust God, give his life to God, and let Him live in him, on him, go before him, protect him, guide him, comfort him, and live through him to others. He said that he wanted me to stay with him forever, but if couldn't have me stay with him, and if it wasn't me who was giving him such love and attention, but God Himself, then he definitely wanted to give his life to Jesus so he could have Him with him at all times. He said this because he had never known joy until this very conversation, and he didn't know why his heart was leaping inside his chest for more of it, but all he could think was, "I WANT THIS!" So, he prayed to God, and asked Him to be Lord and Savior of his life forever! AMEN.
Then as I prayed over him, I saw a picture in my mind of a lumber mill, and I saw him working there, and then the Lord spoke to me and told me to tell him to "Come Home". I asked him where "home" was and he told me "El Paso". I spoke of the picture I saw and told him of a job for him at that lumber mill. He knew exactly where that lumber mill was/is, because he grew up just a couple of miles away from there. He began to laugh hysterically. He couldn't believe it. God was changing his sorrow into joy in the moment, and he couldn't catch up with the massive shifting from ashes to beauty. He kept saying, "WOW, WOW!" All his life, he had felt invisible because both parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol, and never had time for him, except to beat him for being in the way. Yet, God told me to tell him that he is NOT invisible, and He loves him, and cannot wait to show him.
After this, he opened his bag, and showed me a pistol! He said to me, "Kenny, I was going to get some money from you to buy a cup of coffee, and then I was going to kill myself this morning. It was supposed to be my last day today." He pointed at the place he had planned to end his life. I looked at him with everything in me, and said, "Yeah, but God intervened, He saved you. And, you did die. You encountered His love for you, and you surrendered to Him, you gave up, and He raised you up from such a life, and now you can say that this is truly your FIRST day of the rest of your life." We hugged, and he drank his coffee. We laughed and cried together, and I prayed over him, and he prayed right back over me, and one my family, and we prayed to the same God, our Father, whom we both now knew.
He went and sold his gun at a local pawn shop, went to Walmart, bought a pay-as-you-go cell phone, called his aunt, bought a one-way bus ticket to El Paso, with expectation in his heart that the job at the lumber mill has his name on it. He left that place an orphan in his heart, and he is returning learning how to be a son. Father, teach him as you have taught me.
People are hurting all around us. They are desperation with legs, camouflaged in a defeated rhetoric ever exclaiming "I'M FINE, I'M OK", when just under their skin, a storm is raging inside them. Just under the roar of that storm is the little person inside them screaming out, "HELP ME!" "I WANT TO BE LOVED!" "CAN YOU HELP ME??" Are we ready? Can we hear them, can we slow down enough to see them? Can we get our eyes off of our own mirrors to see them? Are we ready to by moved by His love, to be armed with His love for those who don't know His love?