|December 31st, 2010|
“I want to be hugged just like those bar girls. Can I come see you?” The voice on the phone was desperate. I was getting ready for work and to be honest my initial reaction was frustration. I am too busy. There are 100 women and staff at NightLight who need time and hugs. There are women in the bars, kids on the streets, and people at the church – not to mention my family. The needs are so great everywhere. “Where is the church?” I asked God. “I can’t do it all.” This woman was not in NL, she was not staff, and she doesn’t even go to my church. “Why me?” I asked God wearily. Sometimes love is just downright inconvenient! But, the desperate cry pulled at my heart and I had enough reserve in me to say yes with a condition “only for half an hour.” I felt bad but I also felt the need for boundaries. There is always a waiting list of people at NightLight needing special prayer and hugs.
The woman came in and fell in my lap. For the next two hours she clung to me and cried on me, leaving a wet trail on my lap. I couldn’t loosen her grip from me. I tried praying with her but she just kept crying and crying, pouring out her heart. I prayed, “Oh God, send angels to hold her. Send angels to carry her close to your heart. Help her feel your arms around her.” I kept praying this but she kept clinging to me. As I cried out to God on her behalf the truth began to dawn on me: I was asking God to do the assignment he had given me to do. What this woman needed at that moment was not an angel. She needed a real tangible human being to hold her and to love her. She needed relationship and acceptance. She needed Jesus in the flesh.
Love at NightLight is rarely convenient. Whether it is the 14 year old lady boy we meet on the street, Gomer, who just can’t get her act together, or the women who need prayer and deliverance, the need for love rarely – in fact almost never- comes in a convenient time or place. This is the assignment we are given however, to be inconvenienced by love and in doing so we find the greatest fulfillment as we see lives healed, encouraged, and even transformed. Even while writing this letter I am being called to participate in a rescue of trafficked women (which I am thrilled to do) on my first day of Christmas break. The timing is inconvenient but the outcome is worth the inconvenience.
Over 2000 years ago, as the angels announced his coming, Jesus was born during a census and in a manger. It was an inconvenient birth but only the beginning of God’s love expressed through Jesus in the flesh. Jesus came and walked the dusty roads, touched the untouchable and loved the unlovable. He paused when he was most busy to heal, to forgive, and to love. Jesus could have called on legions of angels to walk the earth and minister in love but instead he came to us in the flesh. The Son of God inconvenienced himself to the point of death to demonstrate his love to us. The greatest expression of love was born at Christmas and it lives on through us when we accept the assignment given to us: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12
Every prayer you have spoken and the generosity of your gifts to NightLight are expressions of God’s love to us. Thank you for your willingness over and over to be inconvenienced by love in order to save and restore the precious women and children we serve here in Bangkok.
May your Christmas and New Year be filled with joy and surprising revelations of God’s love for you and may you be encouraged and inspired as God’s love is expressed through you to a world in need.