looking at life through an outward focused lense is both interesting and a challenge…if you have an outward focus you:
notice the unnoticeable
several times i’ve gone to lunch or dinner with others and noticed people in need…to look through natural eyes they seem to have it together, maybe just a bit down, or look pretty normal…however, looking deeper there is somethng going on at a deeper level…recently i’ve been able to pray for a few people i’ve noticed…here is one story worth repeating…
years ago I went to my favorite restaurant, the Screaming Coyote, to purchase a Forklift burrito, the biggest ever made, to bring home to share with my wife. While waiting I noticed a young mother with her child. The mother was dressed in typical alternative dress, appropriately ripped jeans, T-shirt and Doc Martin sandals. She was wearing more than one earring and looked like the typical post modern. While she was digging in to her purse to find the correct change to purchase her food, her baby sat in his stroller and stared into space. He did not look well. I then noticed a tube running to his nose. I thought, ‘I need to pray for the child.’ It was a crowded night so I waited for my order and observed that the mother had moved to the sidewalk tables. I paid for my burrito and nachos and strolled outside. I introduced myself and asked the mom about her child mentioning that I had noticed the tube. She explained that the baby had been born premature and had some major health problems since the birth and that the tube was a feeding tube. Interestingly she also informed me she had named the child a biblical name. At some point in the conversation I asked if I could pray for her and the baby. Unsurprisingly she affirmed by saying something like, ‘That would be nice. Thank you very much’. Before I prayed I asked permission to place my hand on the child’s head and then prayed a please give health to baby and grant wisdom and strength to mom type of prayer. I did notice the mother had tears rolling down her face. At the end of the prayer, I said, ‘Thanks for letting me pray.’ She responded tearfully by saying, ‘No, thank you for praying.’ Her next response ripped my heart she said, ‘I didn’t think anybody cared.’ Stunned, I affirmed God’s care and love for her and her child and told her about a great outward focused church where I knew she could find acceptance. The only problem, it was miles away.
As I walked away I pondered the situation. I was living in Pensacola, host of a ‘city wide revival’ that had been going on for over two years, and here was a person who never knew somebody cared for her life. I thought about Jesus and the many times compassion moved Him to action. He was graceful and caring toward the people who needed health and healing. I then thought, ‘When will the church ever be a go church instead of a come to church? When will the church ever become outward focused instead of inward focused?’ Something happened in my life that day I can never explain. I did know I wanted to be part of a church that cared and welcomed people where an alternative young mother and child could find refuge.