I’ve been working with a family on a civil suit regarding the wrongful death of their son after he was negligently killed. (For example, imagine your loved one being killed by a drunk driver. No warning. No notice. Just a notification that your adult child was killed in a horrific incident and a request that you identify him and retrieve his personal belongings).
A still image flashes through my mind of Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth where my oldest son was a patient in 2000. I remember child after child after child after child that died while we stayed there. The care flight team landed, the space suit staff wheeled the children in for emergency procedures, the child was put in ICU, the child died. Sobbing parents left the waiting room. Going from the cafeteria back up to ICU, I would often share the elevator with space suited people carrying a small ice chest of a child’s body parts for an emergency organ donation procedure. The thought again came to my mind that another family had lost a child in order to bring the organ to this other child who was gripping for life. In hindsight, the ICU floor is not the best place to be if you need your faith increased. Child after child died day after day week after week while we were there. I’ve never seen anything so heart wrenching. (If you are looking for a placed to minister, stop by a chapel at a Children’s Hospital sometime. That’s where truly desperate people are and they would love someone to pray for them).
While I was working with this family whose son was killed, Pastor Joel Scrivner came to our church and spoke about the book he wrote called The Supernatural You. In that book he openly discussed his many “why” questions after his then only daughter died of cancer. I realized, Mr. & Mrs. Scrivner have “street credit” in dealing with the loss of a child. And they are such a great example of God’s healing, love, grace, peace and restoration. Yes there was severe heartbreak, but their family has also prevailed in their pursuit of God even though God, in his ultimate sovereignty, handled the situation differently than the family wanted. God’s ways truly are higher than ours and so many times they just don’t make sense to us. And now this family is giving back and encouraging others through their “street credit” or as I mentioned in a prior blog, through their “shared sufferings”.
Actually, we all have street credit of some kind. There is something you have gone through that at the time was so incredibly difficult but, with God’s amazing grace, you made it through it. For me, it was getting pregnant in high school, facing the option of abortion or quitting school, being a single parent for many many years, climbing my way out of devastating poverty (public housing, food stamps, Medicaid, social services), and choosing to raise my children “in church” despite being looked down at by many Christians for my poor choices. (By the way, when Christians look down at non-Christians, non practicing Christians, people with “no fruit”, people trapped in sin, backsliders, etc. it really doesn’t make them want to come to God it just makes them hate Christians and avoid church….). Well, that’s a whole different blog lol. And I’ve since learned to raise my kids “in Christ” not “in church”. Yes, we go to a church building, but that’s not our source. We are the church (as our new pastor puts it…. well and the Bible too.)
Everyone has a history and a personal experience that gives them the “street credit” to walk someone else through their difficult time. You don’t necessarily have to write and publish a book. Just pick someone that you know who is going through what you went through (or someone you just know needs a friend) and encourage them, help them, pray for them, send them a card for no reason, email them, post on their FB wall lol. You just might be amazed of how much difference you could make in their life at an extremely minimal personal cost to you. You may also be amazed by how touched and blessed you will be in the process.
Happy Thursday! It’s time for more coffee.