I was solicited the other day. It caught me off guard. I was at a convenience store in Kalamazoo scrolling through Facebook while waiting on someone and my window was down. A young lady (maybe twenty) walked up and said, “Excuse me sir, I’m trying to make a little bit of money and I was wondering if you were interested.” I got jarred back into reality. When I looked at her, questions and emotions overwhelmed me. When did it get this bad sweetheart? Aren’t you scared? Where is your dad? How can I really help you today? Is it hunger or addiction that you’re experiencing? Where is your dad!!?
A few days ago I was in Chicago with my wife for our anniversary. I was up early on one of the mornings walking downtown, and I passed rows and rows of stores with everything from high fashion to high art to fine dining. All of it was high in price. Millions of dollars were represented in every block I passed. I also passed several homeless people trying to keep warm and get some rest at four in the morning. One lady caught my eye. She was talking to herself and glancing nervously over her shoulders and carefully watching me (while trying to appear not to be). So many questions ran through my mind. Who is your family? Is there anyone who is missing you right now? Where is the last place you called home? Have you given up? At what point did you stop dreaming? Where is your dad?
And then the Father spoke. He asked me a question. “Nate, do you know why I love cities so much?” I didn’t know. “Because of all the people.”
Anywhere there are people is special to the Lord. But because cities have such a high concentration of people, cities have a special place in His heart. And then the Spirit reminded me of a scripture Jesus quoted from Isaiah at the beginning of His ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” The Holy Spirit was upon Jesus to set captives free. The love of the Father was working through the Son to break yokes and heal the people He loved so dearly.
Where was their dad? The Father was actually “fathering” the hurting and oppressed of Jesus’ day through Jesus. Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, stepped into many hopeless situations and brought the care, protection, provision and love that a father would. We’re called to do the same.
There is a problem.
This kind of love can’t be faked. In each of the situations above I could tell that my time alone with the Lord had formatted my heart to sense the longings in His. And in each of the situations I could feel the compassion of the Father towards the people I was encountering and His thoughts towards them. And the thoughts were for their prosperity and wholeness in every way. I could see Him reminding them of why they were made and encouraging them to lean on Him. I could see that no matter how far they had strayed that His face was always turned toward them. Every family has troublemakers. That doesn’t make them less part of the family.
Take some time in the next few days to do a compassion inventory. Are you too busy to care about those the Lord has allowed around you? Do you grow tired and aggravated with people who have made mistakes and continue to do so? Is your love growing more daring and bold? Or is your love growing more suspicious and jaded? If it’s struggling right now, don’t worry! The Father can fix it. Come to Him in sincerity and prayer and ask for a love transfusion so that you can take your place in the army of Love.
With Love from the Streets