He sat in his car for over ten minutes struggling to enter. His story is familiar although he might have felt as though he was unique.
The scenario plays out in that surreal colorless shadowlands where shame, fragility, hopelessness, fear, guilt, feelings of failure and confusion reign. And yet, from within a car or from the motionless stance on a sidewalk the possibility that hope dwells within urges taking the first step.
Not everyone will enter to receive counseling. Not everyone will enter a worship service to listen and learn from God’s word.
Questions dominate before taking that first step. Is there really help within? What will they think of me? Will others find out? The desire to protect self from further pain by avoiding exposure pushes against hope’s beckoning to enter.
In Luke 15 Jesus grants us three glimpses through God’s eyes. We perceive how God sees people broken by sin. The shepherd, widow and father rejoice over finding what was lost. When the broken have taken the step and arrived home, celebration and joy gushes forth.
From Luke 15:1-2 it appears Jesus told these parables primarily for the benefit of the religious, not those living far from God. Jesus was concerned about how people who claim to serve God were viewing “the tax collectors and sinners.” While Jesus would welcome those brutalized by sinful vice in his efforts to seek and save the lost, the religious of his day tended to look down upon them and keep them at arms length.
These thoughts cause me to ask a question. When people have made the effort to take that first step to enter, what do they encounter? Condescending judgement or a fellow broken traveller dependent upon a gracious God? How do we see those who enter?
If those within are prepared to exalt the Great Physician explaining how God transforms our brokenness into becoming his workmanship then hope and healing can occur. Truth be told, we shouldn’t just wait for them to enter. We ought to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. Not only will we welcome them, but like the shepherd and widow we will go out to search for them. Like the father we will run to them.
The reason I know he sat in his car for over ten minutes is because he told me. He found the courage. We too need to find the courage to go out.