Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Am I CLEAN? No... Not Really. But you are LOVED!


I drove by Njoroge - as he stood by the side of the road, his usual spot - waiting to jump in front of cars, or onto someone's hood...

He waved, and I stopped to greet him.

"Wherever you are going, please may I just come along for a ride?" 

He was fairly sober - not clean, but at least sober.   I pulled to the side of the road and invited him to hop in.

His huge grin said it all.  He played with the radio.  Asked all sorts of questions.   

"You like flowers, don't you, Mum?"  Yes, I love flowers!  "Oh, then I will come and make your yard beautiful with flowers."  How do you know about landscaping, I questioned - as I pictured the slum area - with only mud or dust - that surrounded his home.  "Prison - you know, when I was in prison, I was sent out on work crews... "  I smiled.  Yep, that explained it!

I rolled down my window a little further.  The smell was deafening.  I'm sure that Njoroge had worn the same shirt for at least a week. 

But, oh how we have prayed for this guy!   
Amazing how LOVE drowns out even the stench - sort of.

As we started our journey back home, I asked Njoroge if he was hungry. 
"Yes, Mum."

So, I pulled in to a little shop to buy him some chicken and chips.  I figured we would sit and chat while he ate - as when he is sober, we actually can carry on a fairly sensible conversation.

But, Njoroge didn't want to get out of the car.  Come, I told him - I'll help you!

As I came around the car, I found him self-consciously trying to brush his clothes off, fixing his shoes and straightening himself as best he could.  He looked up at me,  "Am I CLEAN?"

I recognized right away just why he was so hesitant... He didn't want to be rejected.

I put my hand on his shoulder - "I'll be with you!"

The truth - No, you are not clean... 
But, Njoroge, you are LOVED!


His words have been running through my head over and over... am I clean? 
Before you, GOD, am I clean?
And, I am recognizing the truth - the stark truth.

No, I am not clean!
But I am so LOVED!!!

And, LOVE is the only thing that ever changed me - LOVE is the only thing that will ever change Njoroge.  Neither of us can "clean up" enough to deserve that lavish LOVE and GRACE that is freely poured out by our great GOD!

LOVE is eternal 

When I was NOT clean...
"The GRACE of our Lord overflowed for me with the FAITH and LOVE that are in Christ Jesus."
I Timothy 1:14