Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Shepherd's Longing

More of this story will be recorded here at a later time. But for now, this:

Mumbai. Night. Spirit in me was jumping and urging me to go out. I didn't know where He would take me; I just knew I was going somewhere. He filled me with joy.

"By faith Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going..." Hebrews 11.

I had a small bag with me. I stepped out. The elevator took me down six levels.

"Take nothing with you..." Matthew 9.

I took a walk back upstairs. Giddy. Empty hands now. Full heart of Abba's love that was begging to be expressed.

"Having nothing yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6.

A walk down six flights of stairs. A step out into the night. One foot in front of the other. Confidence; thoughts of mighty protection invisible to me becoming visible to those who would harm me. A quiet smile. Papa's got me. He's leading me. I'm excited.

A road. A rickshaw. A bhaiya.

"Carter Road?"

He didn't understand what I said.

"I'm sorry ma'am..."

Sovereignty. Guess I'm not going there tonight. I laughed to myself and thought of the next place I knew.

"Linking Road?"

I said it before I thought it through. Sovereignty.

"Yes ma'am."

Ahh...yes. That was where I met those kids and adults who live and sleep outside of McDonald's and KFC.

Here we go.

Twenty minutes. Maybe thirty. Bathed in rest as I rode through the ridiculously overcrowded streets between Santacruz and Bandra. Wind in my face; a view from the highway of the Arabian Sea. Breathtaking every time. I wondered, "Is this really my life right now?"

"Bas," I said to the bhaiya, letting him know that he had taken me far enough. Forty-five Rupees. He was kind.

Stepping out again, I went looking for them, and sought them before they could seek me. Perhaps the first time that has happened to them. Christ in me? SO excited to be around them. He loves.

They begged. I smiled. I told them to follow me. Other onlookers thought something was wrong and were harsh with them. They asked me if there was a problem. I wanted to say, "They live on the street and are treated like the dirt that cakes their skin. Don't you think that is a problem?" But instead I smiled and told them that I came to have dinner with my friends. I wanted them to follow me. It threw the onlookers off-guard to see me enjoying them so much.

I gathered a few kids. For a few hours I was the mother of six young, energetic, feisty, and beautiful kids. We crossed the street. Human Frogger. I held them back when something with wheels comes racing our way, even though I knew they have done this for far longer than I have. I loved them. I loved that night. I loved Him. I was Beaming.

We walked. Words were lost in translation. I wanted them to choose their favorite place to eat. I asked those who walk by to translate words to and from them. Most were eager to help, but thought I was foolish. "They are just taking advantage of you, you know. Don't buy them anything."

But grace makes no distinction.

No one took His life; He gave it up on His own accord.

Big. Astronomical. Difference.

We walked some more. I looked back to make sure all six were with me. Something happened that I knew would affect me for the rest of my life. I saw one of my boys turn to beg someone else.

I heard the heart of the Shepherd in that moment...I wanted to say, "Child! If you just follow me, you won't have to beg anyone else. You don't even have to beg me because I am giving to you freely. Follow Me; right now I am leading you to food for your body and love for your soul. Come!"

I said, "Ey! Chullo! Aja!"

In English: "Hey! Let's go! Come!"

He looked at me, snapped out of his begging mode, smiled, and did something that resembled an Irish jig. Then he followed me.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but a matter of righteousness, faith and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I have eaten with the poor who could not repay me. It has never been about food. It is always about dispersing grace; the lifeblood of the kingdom. And dispersing it and receiving it are usually done in the same motion. There is one Giver. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.

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