Just this morning, I received this text at around 1:30am: "I've had a hard life. Make sure you are always genuine, Pastor. I felt you were."
And a bit later, "Sorry, met Jesus. Walked away. NOT personal."
I texted him back and let him know I was available to talk. He texted back, "I'm drunk and want Jesus. It's raw. I'm not a church go-er. Someone said I should come to your church, and you seemed nice."
Some of us have received texts like this one. This gentleman used the right word in his text: raw. That's an unnerving word to me. I don't know how you react, but each time I am confronted with a situation like this, I quickly realize how much I need Jesus and how much the world needs Jesus. Honestly, when a person in this type of situation comes into my world, I feel empty and a bit hopeless. Then I remember who I am and who Jesus is. Then hope kicks in.
Back to my conversation with this man:
My next text to him said, "Jesus is for sure your hope. He saved me from my addictions and crazy life. I know He can help you, too."
His response, "Thanks, man. What u just said meant more than u know."
I invited him to come to visit me at church and talk more. I honestly don't know if I'll ever hear from him again. There was no name — just a number. However, somehow Jesus touched him with a short word of hope.
And here we are. It is a new year, and we have new hope for it. Yet this hope is not going to come in bulk. It will come in individual units. I remember a story I read years ago about Corrie TenBoom who's family hid Jews during the Nazi occupation. When her father sent her to a relative's home on the train, he would always give her the train ticket she needed just before boarding.
I think it is like that with hope. God gives what we need at just the right moment for the person receiving it. So, yes, there is new hope for this new year, but it's going to come via trust just when needed. And I believe when that happens, you are going to be part of transforming someone's life. Here's to hope in the new year!