Saturday, March 17, 2012

In Pursuit

It is St. Patrick's Day. I am not at a parade catching cabbages. I am not drinking green beer or baking Guinness cup cakes.  I am in my home doing my best to clean and bring order. I am in a place far away from all that is familiar.  And to be honest, I am a little bit tired, a little bit sad, a little bit lonely.

Yesterday, we followed the town drunk home. He had invited us to his house when he came here to sell blackberries.  Yesterday, he came for us.  Stumbling and smelling of liquor, he came. And we went with him, following him for a couple of miles as he stumbled and swerved up the mountain road.  We offered him our arms for support when he tired.  We stopped and waited as he stripped almost bare to bathe in the river. We showed him where he had laid his clothes when he thought he had lost them.  We breathed in the smell of a life covered in liquor and sang along as best we could as he mumbled drunken praises to our King.

And even as I winced at the smell of his breath, even as I wondered what his motives where as he forced into the small shop to buy him bread and sugar to take home, even as I shockingly fended off his unwanted advances, I thought about my Jesus.  How these are the ones He came to save.  How even if this man was insincere in His pursuit of Christ, Christ was not insincere in His pursuit of this man.

When we finally arrived at his house, we stood in his bare room on his dirt floors with all the belongings his family owns hanging from the rafters.  We stood with the Word of God in hand and a sing of praise on our lips. We stood with a sincere desire to be Christ for the least of these.  And in the short time we were there, his grandchildren who had hidden themselves under blankets and in corners upon our arrival, and his wife and daughters who sat cooking over an open fire in their outdoor kitchen, began to smile, came out from their hiding places, began to play.

The world didn't change for them or for us yesterday. But Jesus did send us out in pursuit of His poor and forsaken children. And we found them. And we did our best to love them in His name.

Today, that man's daughter showed up at my door with her young son. She came to ask if I needed any help in my home because she has been unable to find work for a few months.  I hired her to come two days a week. I am grateful for her help. But I am grateful for so much more than that.

I am grateful to welcome her into my home. Grateful for more opportunities to share, more opportunities to love, more opportunities to go deeper. And I am begging the Lord for the day I  can look in her the eyes and tell her that Creator of the Universe is in pursuit of her, is deeply, madly in love with her and wants to know her and wants to give her a life better than any she could ever imagine. Because He is.

This life I live is a crazy, beautiful mess of humanity.  It is hard.  It makes me cling to Jesus for every bit of grace I can beg.  It is profound in its brokenness and profound in its redemption. It is laced with the glory of God.

In my humanity, I want my family and friends at home to be happy and well. I want to be there to enjoy with them when they are and to console them when they are not.  I want that drunk man to show up at my door happy and sober and in love with Jesus. Today, that is not God's will for my life. Today, Jesus wants to walk with me into the ugly places, the stinking places, the alone and afraid places.  And He wants me to open my eyes and see that He is there.

And I will. By His grace, I will go where He goes and follow where He leads.  Because I know that He pursues me only in love and leads me only to the place where He can love me more and give me a greater capacity to love in His name.  In my humanity, I want a lot of things. But deep in my soul, I want only one: Jesus. I want to do His will with my life. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If I am honest, there are times when I am much like my drunk friend, stumbling around in the hard, rocky places, singing praises I do not really mean, groping for things I cannot have. And yet, still He pursues me, comes to me, reveals Himself to me.

How can I not do the same for my brothers and sisters? The answer is simple. I can't not do it. I can't turn away from the call to love, the call to serve. the call to pursue those He loves.  Is this life hard sometimes? Yes. Yes, it is.  Is it lonely sometimes? Yes. Yes, it is. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. Yes, it is.

But if it means that one man stumbling drunk along life's path and his family get one long glimpse at the love of Christ in my life, is it worth it? Yes. Yes, it is.


  1. I have no words except "thank you" and "I love you". And know that your family, and the families you serve are in our prayers.

  2. Oh Colleen...thank you for sharing your words so deep and affecting. Thank you for serving where the Lord has asked you to, no matter what challenges you face. Thank you for allowing us to stumble along with you. Blessings and Grace my friend...Always!

  3. Colleen,
    You and your family are amazing witnesses for Our Lord. We will keep praying for you!