we stood along the stairs leading from the highway down to the riverwalk. Just beyond where we stood was the Pepsi Center where the Denver Nuggets play basketball. Further along the riverwalk was a huge REI store. All around us was life, and it was wizzing along blurringly fast. But my new friend Benny searched under a pine tree, looking at some tarp, and cardboard and a wet blanket. Benny spoke of a friend who lived in this "squat" frequently; Trent. Benny spoke of the hard life that Trent had lived. He said Trent grew up in the church, the son of a minister...yet, his path had placed him under this tree among the tanbark, under the highway just a few hundred feet from the home of the Denver Nuggets, and he was dying!

As Benny told us this story, sorrow began to wash over me. Uncontrollable, overwhelming emotion from deep in my past. I had to walk away from the group; this was about Trent,about the work Benny did, and about preparing our group of students for the mission we were on. This was not about me. But it seemed that God had another idea.

For a moment, God spoke directly to me reminding me of the journey I have been on the last 20 years. I felt a rang of emotion as Benny spoke of Trent. One of the most surprising was guilt. I felt somewhat guilty that I have been redeemed, restored, and renewed while Trent was not. I also felt remorse for all who I had led into a life of drug or alcohol abuse. I always spoke freely to people about how great some smoke I had was...yet how reluctant I seemed to be about saying JESUS was amazing.

Benny was telling us how one person heard Trent's last desperate cry from help on that day as he lay dying. How that one person called 911 and Trent spent almost a year in the hospital recovering from an infection from dirty needles, and an overdose. Benny had to stop as he spoke of Trent. Benny was heartbroken, because he knew that there was life, not in the freedom of the streets, and the dulled, fuzzy, reality of the altered, drug induced euphoria. Benny wept. And I wept.

I wept because I have friends and family members who are struggling. Not just with addiction, but with living. Having to get up day after day in a rut of hurt and sorrow. A life that was NOT what they had planned. I wept because even after God has called me out of a harrsh desolate place into the lush goodness of grace, I turn. I turn my eyes to the shiny "new" image; I turn my nose away from the fragrance of his love, and I turn my heart towards things that are just not HIM. I wept because HE was calling out to me like a lover who had wandered away.

So, what would it take for you? For you to put down the good things in life that are taking your attention from the ONE who really cares about you today, tomorrow, forever? What is it that God is calling you from?


simply HIS,


Heather said…
Another great post, JB.
Heather said…
Bless you, JB. What a powerful lesson, once again.

I feel honored to call you friend.

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