I didn’t plan on going into a bookstore. It wasn’t on my list of errands. As I loaded my groceries into the back seat of my car, I remembered I needed to buy a friend a gift, so off to the bookstore I went.
Finding the perfect thing for her, I approach the cash register to pay. This is when I first notice him.
His shirt is half untucked, and his shoes are covered with the dust that covers everything here in the desert. He speaks Spanish. He is shifting his weight from foot to foot, waiting by the cash register for someone or something to arrive. I wonder about this man’s life story.
The store clerk interrupts my wonderings by asking me to step forward and pay for my purchase. I step beside the man and hand the clerk my money.
As I was doing so, another store clerk walked behind the counter and presented the man beside me with a closed box. He stopped moving, smiled at her, and opened it. I want to grasp what he is saying because he is speaking Spanish quickly and with great excitement.
The look on his weary face changes.
I’ve seen the same expression on my son’s face as he took his first steps, or when we surprised him with a trip to Disneyland. My son’s excitement was evident when he saw the peak of the fake Matterhorn from Harbor Boulevard. This man exhibited the same look on his face. But why?
I glance into the shallow box; understanding at once. The man carefully lifted a black leather Bible out of the box as if it were made of bone china. The cover was newly engraved with what I assume to be his name.
From no name, to a name engraved in gold.
I can barely keep my emotions in check.
This mama is familiar with the power of the Bible he is holding. We lock eyes and I muster a huge grin while holding back tears that want to fall.
No words are needed between us.
We possess different skin colors and speak in different languages. But in our spirits, we are united. And we both realize it.
For many years I denied Jesus access to my heart. And yet, He loves me and forgives me though I am still far from perfect. What breaks my heart is that countless names around me are not written in gold. There are many people who continue to deny the deity of Jesus, the only One who unifies people of different colors and backgrounds. To them I write with kindness and in love:
Jesus is the Messiah.
Names are being engraved in gold.
I want yours to be too.
Let’s talk about my car. My wonderful husband works hard at vacuuming and scrubbing the thing. Bless. You can hop into my car and conclude from a casual observation that nothing moldy is growing on the seat in which you are sitting. But in the nooks and crannies of our car, invisible to everyone, is a plethora of crumbs, stale potato chips and fossilized french fries. Our car is not clean is it? It is easy to vacuum the floor mats and tougher to clean the hard to reach area between the front seat and center console.
So what the heck am I getting at with these two observations?
I’ve been quiet on my social media feeds in regards to the tragic shootings and violence occurring in our world. My observations of stale potato chips and a name written in gold, confirms what I’ve been mulling over in my mind and heart. So here is where I land…
Friends, we need to clean the hard to reach places. Jesus Christ is our only Hope and the only Unifier.
Like you, I mourn over those who died at the hands of a bomber, shooter, and truck driver. And then I get angry. I want to help. My mama’s heart becomes discouraged and distracted. I feel like I am dancing with two left feet through all of this and I want people to stop killing each other. Know what I mean?
And to be honest, you and I are busy vacuuming up the “floor mats” around us. We do so by placing emotion and faith in hashtags, politicians, or paper signs held up in protest. Or we rest in laws written on paper, believing they will heal and harmonize our nation. And maybe we write a blog post or a book (ahem)…
Most of us are trying our best to love and help. We continue to vacuum, believing the “car” we are in is clean.
But shootings and bombings continue to happen. We spew angry words at each other via Facebook or Twitter. What is in the nooks and crannies of hearts all over this nation is surfacing. How much more has to happen for us to wake up and admit our current attempts at vacuuming isn’t enough?
Raising a different kind of ruckus
I believe there is a way we can clean out the nooks and crannies full of hate, racism, and evil. I may have been silent on social media but I haven’t been silent before my God.
Scripture is clear: we are to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Prayer is more powerful and effective than a meme or hashtag. Prayer frees us from the pride, hate, and fear that drive us to post or say hurtful words to one another.
If we want to see real change around us, then we need to pray for heart change within all of us- Democrat, Independent, and Republican alike.
So I encourage you to turn off Netflix, open your Bible, and binge read the oodles of passages that talk about prayer. The words and phrases found in the prayers uttered by Daniel and the Apostle Paul are wonderful examples for us to emulate as we pray. Check out James 5:16 in the New Testament for some encouragement. We can do this. We need to be doing this, more.
Let’s stop being noisy in front of each other on Facebook. Instead, let’s raise a humble ruckus before the throne of God with our prayers. Not only will there be fewer crumbs, but more people will change from having no name, to having their name written in gold.
Lord, have mercy on me and on our nation. We are lost. Our country needs You. So much pain and evil exists. Forgive us. Draw us nearer to You and make us thirst for You. Move. Heal. Comfort. Help the family or friends of those intent on carrying out evil to somehow prevent further bloodshed. Wow us with your miracles, God, for nothing is to hard for You. Help us to see that You are Truth, and that Your way is Love. Guide us in all things. Unite us and break down the walls of fear, hate, and division that Satan is erecting all over this Nation. Please do it Lord, we need You. We want to see more names in gold, for their good and for Your glory. We pray this in the power of Jesus’ name, Amen.