the weblog of Alan Knox

"I needed to talk to you"

Posted by on Jan 10, 2009 in discipleship, love, missional, service | 11 comments

While our family was still in Alabama, I got a phone call from S. She is one of the residents of the government assisted housing development where we’ve been spending time since last summer.

She was very upset, and asked if Margaret and I could come over to talk to her. I explained that we were out of town, and I asked if she wanted to wait, if she wanted me to find someone else for her to talk to (someone that she was acquainted with), or if she wanted to talk on the phone. She asked if we could talk on the phone.

Apparently, there had been some type of incident in which S. felt she was wrongly accused of something. Because of that accusation, she and her three children might have to move out of the housing development. This would be very difficult for her family because they can’t afford to live anywhere else.

Primarily, she said, “I just wanted to talk to you and Margaret. I needed to get this off of my chest, and I didn’t know anyone else that I could talk to about it.”

For the first time since we’ve known her, S. began talking about her faith. She talked about some of the struggles she’s had in life. She said that she didn’t understand why her life was going wrong while people who were violent or did drugs seemed to have a good life.

When we first met S., she seemed cold and distant. But, through the time we’ve spent with her, we’ve developed a relationship that seemed impossible at the beginning of last summer. Now, when she needed to talk to someone, she thought of us. How amazing!

Once again, God confirmed to me that my responsibility was to love people in his name, and allow him to give me opportunities to help people in their faith. It is not responsibility to force things on people, or to manipulate conversations and relationships in order to disciple people. I must let God lead them to himself.

So, we’ve loved S. and her family. We’ve helped them through various situations. We’ve served them in different ways. In every case, we’ve let them know that the reason that we love them is because God loves us and he loves them.

Please pray for S. and her family. Pray that this situation would be resolved, or that she would find another place to live. Also, please pray that whatever happens, she would allow God to reveal himself to her however he desires.

Finally, as Paul asked, please pray for me and my family, “that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ.”


11 Comments

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  1. 1-10-2009

    Will be praying for S and the situation – and for your family as well. Blessings to you!

  2. 1-10-2009

    That is good. In that S. had the confidence to call you. We are experiencing the samething where we minister. The relationship building is a very important step. Building one’s trust and then the door comes wide open and they let you in their life.
    Praise God!!!

  3. 1-10-2009

    How glorious that God allowed you to build that relationship to the point of her confidence to call you and talk about her faith and her problems.

    To be used in His name, what else can we ask for?

  4. 1-10-2009

    We will be praying for this family as well. This is what Erwin McManus calls the “third space”, where we have earned people’s trust and they invite us into the spaces of their lives. This takes time and investment in the lives of others. Could this be what Jesus was talking about in Luke 16:9: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings”? (NIV)

  5. 1-10-2009

    Sarah,

    Thank you for the prayer!

    Steven (SOwen),

    Yes, we’re finally learning how important relationship building is.

    Andy,

    I am always humbled when God chooses to use us in this way.

    Sam,

    “Time and investment in the lives of others”… Yes. Exactly.

    -Alan

  6. 1-10-2009

    The sad thing is, there are precious few times when people call us (Christians) for encouragement or help. So many of us have a reputation as “the frozen chosen” in our pretty little buildings that people don’t feel like we care or want to help. Thanks for this encouraging post. I’ll be praying for S.

  7. 1-10-2009

    Alan,

    What an absolute God given privilege we have, when the love we offer is returned as trust.

    If people don’t see Christ in our actions and attitudes towards them, we cannot expect them to heed the Christ we preach.

  8. 1-10-2009

    Joe,

    Yes, things changed drastically for us when we moved out of the building and started sharing in people’s lives.

    Aussie John,

    Yes, it is definitly a “God given privelege” and a huge blessing for our family.

    -Alan

  9. 1-11-2009

    When we belong to the Father, he will meet us where we are and take us where he is. That often means he must walk us through circumstances that make us face our fear and pride and self-love.

    Those who are of the spirit of the anti-Christ live a “good” life of serving their pride and being controlled by their fear. Their circumstances of “success,” keep them blinded to their prison.

  10. 1-11-2009

    Alan,

    That’s awesome. People in the inner-city have a keen sense of discernment. They know who is real and who is not. For the most part they can sniff out a phoney christian from quite a distance.

    S. has obviously found you and your family to be real. I will pray that God would continue to give you opportunities to share the Gospel. I would also ask, that you would do the same for me.

    Blessings,
    Gary

  11. 1-11-2009

    David (ded),

    I agree. I’ve also found that when people are in the middle of a bad situation, they don’t always want to hear an explanation, they just want to talk about it.

    So, when they want to talk, we listen and comfort and encourage.

    Gary,

    We try to be real – who we really are – with S. and her family and her neighbors and… well, with everyone. We try to love people and let God work through those relationships.

    -Alan