The food was prepared and the table was set. With excited anticipation we called everyone to the kitchen for dinner. We sat down and prayed over our first “family night” and our first meal where everyone was able to attend. Breakfast was served for dinner (because who can deny my husband’s famous pancakes?) and the full plates were quickly emptied as they made their way around the table. With laughter and conversation richer than the pancake syrup smothering most plates, my heart was filled with contentment.
For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I are living as Resident Advisor’s in The Joel Home. Joel’s Home is transitional living for boys aging out of foster care. The idea is to baby step them into the world by providing them a cheap place to live, teach them the skills they’ll need (how to get a job, interview etiquette, how to pay rent, etc.), and provide friendship and accountability for them. All of this is done under the umbrella of teaching them the love of Christ and modeling a Christ-focused lifestyle.
As we sat filling our stomachs with greasy bacon, eggs and sweet pancakes, I looked around the table and said a silent prayer that these guys would feel at home here. I prayed they would see we are to be trusted and we genuinely care for them.
After the plates were cleared we moved to the couches to transition to our first bible study. We read from the first 25 verses of the Bible and heard how God formed everything into existence. At 24 years old I still marvel at the power and sovereignty of a God who can speak things into life. As we were discussing I began to get that familiar feeling and I knew God had something He was speaking to me. I thought back to the table set and prepared for each person. Then God spoke…
“Just as you prepared this table for these boys, so I am preparing a table for all those who are Mine”.
All those who are mine. I looked around at each face in the room and my heart ached because I knew not all of us belonged to Christ. However, I hold out hope that these guys will encounter the True God and will come to know Him. I pray this everyday and more and more I feel the urgency that Christ lived out. I am reminded the words of Jesus:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
– John 14:1-7 (ESV)
How incredible, how loving! Just as I prepared a place for each guy at dinner last night, our Father is preparing a place for each of us! He longs for us, desires us, and aches for us to be in His Presence. Our God is not a god that stands high in the heavens unwilling to come down to where we are. Instead, our God loved us so deeply that He sent Christ to beckon us home to Him. Our God, who made Himself man and who reins on High, still enters into our humanity and shows us the way to Him.
Christ doesn’t leave us to our own frailties and failures. Instead, Christ loves us into faith and fruitful living.
Dear friends, as you read this I pray you will join me in praying for the salvation of these guys. I pray you too will experience the urgency and importance of spreading the Gospel. These are incredible young men who are not forgotten. Will you pray they see the love we have for them? Will you pray for the building of relationships and trust? Will you pray we are able to make this a home for them even as they are in transition into independent adulthood? Most importantly, will you pray that, through our faithful lifestyles, these guys would see us and desire Christ?
Thank you friends. Your love and prayers are always appreciated more than words can convey. We are grateful for you and thank God for you often.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13-14