As a pastor I know a lot about the woe of people's lives. Health issues, life and death matters, employment challenges, family dynamics, broken hearts and missed opportunities, to name a few, fill the pews of our churches from week to week. Most days the most I can do for someone is to listen, pray, comfort and encourage. I can occasionally direct someone to a resource that may be helpful, or connect them with a person whose gift can assist with facing a dilemma. Too often I feel like a band aid dispenser when what I want most to be is a healing and reconciling accomplice. I know that the work of God is accomplished through human hands and hearts, the results of which are generally unseen. But there are days when I long for evidence that the almighty is busy on our behalf, and for signs that the ground of my being is as firm as I believe it to be.
Imagine my joy, then, when yesterday I found myself in a position to be an actor in conveying this kind of grace. A woman whose life circumstances are forcing her to be uprooted and relocated is shedding her possessions. The overwhelming trauma of the last few months of her life has reduced her capacity to cope with the necessary details of her transition. She clings to the salvation that this change, painful as it is in many ways, means for her. Through tears, she told me she didn't know what to do.
But I knew what I could do. I visited her and photographed the items she wouldn't be taking with her to her new address. Mostly furniture, I came home and loaded the pictures into my computer and sent off some emails. A couple starting a life together, an organization that aids displaced persons in the transformation from despair to hope, a family that gets by with a hot-plate and a cooler can all benefit from this list of available items. By the time I got up this morning more than half of the inventory of which I am serving as broker has a place to go.
This is grace. This is the stuff that pumps my heart and puts me on my knees with gratitude for the opportunity to touch another life. On the phone last night one person kept telling me, "you won't believe this, this is exactly what we need." Yes, I do believe, because that is how grace reveals herself. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
If you catch me with a you-know-what eating grin this week, you'll know why.