“It’s soooo hot! I can’t wait for it to start to cool off!”
In Texas, this statement – or some variant of it – is so common it’s probably spoken every second of every day during the summer.
Isn’t it ironic that most of the time, the person speaking is located in an air conditioned room, where there is no danger of that heat disturbing their comfort. Nor will their health be in any climate-related danger.
Not so for the people in our community who do not have a place to call home. Every day of summer, they search for shade; every night, they wish for a breeze.
I keep thinking about how privileged we are in this country. How privileged I am. It is a challenge to reconcile the difference between ‘have’s’ and ‘have-nots’ when you put yourself in the different evinronments on purpose.
For a short seven days in 2018, I experienced a middle-class lifestyle in a third world country… if that even exists. We had electricity most of the time, running water all of the time, clean water available, and security to protect us overnight. That was considerable privilege compared to the local people we met with daily.
For two hours every week, I spend time with people who live their American lives out in much the same way as the locals in Haiti. There is one big difference in their day-to-day: they have no home at all.
The first few times I served our homeless community, I felt challenged to find a way to relate to the people I met. Soon I realized that they have the same basic needs that I do, and that is why we are there for them: to help them meet the basic needs that are so hard to come by when you have no home (no electricity, no running water, no housing, no food, and on and on…).
After a few weeks, Steve and I both have come to feel like these people we have come to know are distant family members that we should be helping out while they are in a bind.
And that’s exactly what is going on for many of those we meet: they are in a bind. Most of them want out, and are willing to work to make it happen.
This is one of the places in life where we experience God in such a big way. It is His amazing goodness that pours out of several of those I know. When we all read the Bible together before parting ways, and afterward to hear people testify to their understanding of the Lord’s goodness. Of His grace.
I don’t need to know anyone’s back story, although I know each and every person has one. A huge challenge in life is to know your back story, and then take a hard, honest look at your now story when it’s not the life you think you should be living. God helps us by forgiving us for all the stories that do not live up to the goodness he has for us, and He is faithful to show us a way to find it.
Whether we choose to follow that way or not is ALWAYS up to each of us, but if you choose not to… it’s almost certain that your now will be the same as your past.
As for the heat of summer: embrace it. I challenge you to embrace it and appreciate that you have the ability to get into your car or a store or your house and be protected from the heat.