...is a difficult thing...especially if fighting is all you've known for your entire life.  this is the reality Joe faces tonight as he sleeps in the prayer room.

last night Joe came to the house and joined us for our house meeting...not the most opportune time if looked at from a "getting things done" standpoint.  and yet, i am now convinced that he was meant to be there, just as he was meant to be there on Monday, and Saturday and all the other days he's come by drunk more times than not.
and i am now convinced that he was meant to be here today.

last night, i will admit, i was on the verge of being annoyed that Joe had stopped by. Couldn't we just get through a meeting without an interruption.  i went into the prayer room feeling very uneasy.  i chalked it up to starting school again the next morning...but of course it wasn't this. it wasn't this at all.  in the prayer room last night, i was deeply convicted that my attitude towards Joe was less than kind and i was being less than true to Christ.  My selfish attitude kept me from truly loving Joe last night.  My heart must be changed.  Less of me and more of Christ.

so today while i was sitting in class, i couldn't get joe off my mind.  i couldn't get joe off my mind.  i couldn't get joe off my mind.  and it was clear that God was prodding me to talk with Joe.  On my drive home from class, i knew...i just knew that i had to talk with Joe today.  when i walked through the door of the boiler room, there Joe stood with a snarly-toothed grin.
and i am now convinced that he was meant to be here today.

i saw him and immediately said: we need to talk.  and so we talked...for two and a half hours.  we talked about his life, his past, his present, his future and his addiction that keeps him from moving forward...and we talked about surrender...and his struggle to succumb to the still small voice that is calling his name in love.  Joe...you are loved.  Joe...come back to me. Joe...I love you.

and at the end of that conversation, Joe and i prayed.  Joe prayed...for the second time this week, after nearly ten years of silence.  and he stepped closer to surrender.  he is ready to surrender his addiction.  surrender to Jesus...not yet...but he is close.  he is very close.  

and so he sleeps in the room below mine tonight and i am struck with the nature of surrender.  the difficulty of surrender and yet the brilliance of victory that accompanies it. it is not weakness, though we are all very weak.  instead, it takes much more strength than all of the years combined that Joe has been fighting.  Joe is still fighting, but i think he is so very close to surrender.  and so we will continue to lift him up.  we will continue to bathe him in prayer.  and i ask the same from you.

without surrender, Joe would not be sleeping where he is tonight with a new hope and a McDonald's Big Mac and strawberry shake in his belly.  without surrender, i may have remained annoyed and uneasy about Joe.  i may have missed an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  without surrender, none of us are able to truly by true to Christ.  

surrender is sweet.  it is difficult.  but it is good.  and it is what we all must do. it is here that we respond to that still, small voice that says:

you are loved...come back to me...i love you.


tony and jenn tendero said...

this is the work of redemption. it's exhausting and exhilarating.
reading your words inspires me.
thank you for all you do, and for letting the Spirit guide you and redeem you.

Anonymous said...

I'll keep Joe (and you too) in my prayers! I pray that he fully surrenders very soon! Your blog inspires me to want to be the hands and feet of Christ. Thanks for your truth.

piet said...

Wow, I found this Blog because God has been leaning me in toward the BR. I have not stepped in yet but want to badly and would love to bring the family in with dinner in hand to start (just here now looking for dinner details). So, please pass on that we're a coming Tony, just need the dinner details and date...

But Brad, dear Brad...Bravo!

Bravo God! O how He loves you and me. This IS a wonderful picture of loving the seemingly unloveable as only He can do through you. As you step with Him and pour yourself out He fills YOU! Keep stepping, keep pouring yourself out and His love will continue to exceed your capacity and move to others... Like Joe! I know without a doubt the more you surrender and yield to Him the more often you'll say "I can't get him... or her... or them... out of my head", so welcome to the jungle my friend... The formation of the mind of Christ in you! I will lift up Joe too, collectively we can pray him from darkness into the Light as you said it best "He was meant to be here" and God puts people in our paths for a reason. To Him be the Glory.


Anonymous said...

I have known Joe for many years (34) He has had many many hardships throughout his life. Joe has a good heart. I have worried about Joe throughout the years. Wondering if he was alive or dead. I know now his heart is in the right place. "Thank God" Bless the Bride Street Broiler Room. You are such a blessing. God Bless all of you and keep the faith.