I still remember the day that he wheeled in his wheel chair. I was in my office working, but got news that there was a new guy coming to shelter, and he was in a wheel chair. When he arrived I brought him into my office to talk and to have him agree to our rules.
I don’t often have a hard time talking with someone about our rules, but he was a special case. He gave me some difficult moments, or you could say opportunities to be graceful and show love. I really didn’t know if he would last long or not.
At our shelter we use Facebook to communicate with all the staff using a messenger chat group. I informed the other staff that we had a new guy and he would probably be a difficult person to work with. You can’t keep a hard heart for long around our shelter. Our staff is often up beat and happy, our guests sometimes come in with a smile, and we have Jesus here every day, and we know that Jesus brings Joy into people’s lives.
So let’s call this man Bob just to make it easier to write. Bob had a interesting job in the past, that made it so some people liked him, and others despised him. If you met him that is his personality, you either love him or hate him, there is no in-between. I loved him, like I try and do for everyone that comes into our shelter. Some people make it a little harder to love, and Bob is kind of like that group. However Bob and I started to get along very well.
Bob applied for our “Housing First” type housing called Step-Up, and was accepted, I was very excited, but while living at the house there was, let’s say friction! I know that God can use times of frustration to speak to us, and that’s exactly what happened to Bob.
I should back up a bit and tell you that during the first meeting I had with Bob, I informed him that we have bible studies daily and that he can participate if he wished. He told me very clearly that he wanted nothing to do with Christianity or God. In our shelter we offer to people the chance to go to bible study, and we have a church service every Sunday evening, but at no time is anyone ever forced to attend a biblical session. Our staff is all Christians and we do take opportunities to tell people about Jesus and/or ask if we can pray for someone. I will tell you that sometimes it is hard to tell someone about Jesus if their minds are closed, but I can’t recall any person who has given me a hard time when I asked if I could pray for them.
So Bob started to attend bible studies, and started to come to church. One day he went to a church in the morning, where God was really speaking to him. There was a alter call (an alter call is when the person leading the meeting invited people to the front of the stage for prayer, or giving them a chance to accept Jesus as their Lord), someone asked Bob if he wanted to go up.
“I will tonight, where my home is”. He wanted to wait until he came back to church here, to pray and give his heart to Jesus. And he did! That night he went up front and gave his heart to Jesus. In his way he was trying and wanted to do his best.
Do you remember when I told you that at the house he was living there was friction? Well after he made this decision things got worse. I remember him coming to me and asking why these things were happening to him. He knew that a lot of the time he was a big JERK, but I told him that if you believe that God is real, than you must believe the devil is also, and he doesn’t want you believing in Jesus.
So things got to a point where I didn’t see Bob anymore and I wondered if he moved out. He did. He still comes around some. Normally he just stops in when he needs some advice or needs prayer. I know that God has started a work in Bob’s life that He will bring to completion. Bob’s heart has started to soften, and I know that as he seeks Jesus he will continue to be changed into the man God created him to be. I don’t know why, but I am often shocked by what God does. Seeing him change the most unlikely of people.
You may have some people in your life vying for your attention that have a hard heart or a stubborn mind. Just keep showing them Jesus; He knows what He is doing. God’s love can soften the hardest of hearts.