Weeping the heart of God
by Erin Dabis –
Oppressed, but not crushed. As we gathered, some of us were a little uneasy as a disheveled man walking quickly past us yelled obscenities over his shoulder. I thought to myself, “Okay. Play it cool.” A few moments later, I found myself pressed against the window of this dark place, praying and weeping for the many that passed through its doors. For a moment I was terrified. But, then the Spirit showed up.
I was attending an urban mission conference in Vancouver, BC and had just gone out with my group of six for an afternoon mission. Our location was the urban epicenter of the Downtown Eastside. Our mission was to pray into one of Vancouver’s few safe injection sites for heroin addicts. Our territory was a refuge for many drug addicts dependent on heroin to live, despite the reality of their quickening death.
In my own humanness, I hated this place. I hated it and I hated the people who thought that by providing the poor and prostituted a place to “safely shoot up,” they were actually doing them a favor. The harder I prayed, the louder I could hear the enemy’s whispered words echoing loudly in my mind, I win again. I was furious. In my humanness, God took precedence over the faulty and finite feelings that were blurring what the Spirit was trying to show me.
Persecuted, not abandoned. Hands firmly pressed against the cold glass, the pain the Father felt as another man shot drugs into his decaying arm surged through me. Simple words of profound passion flowed from my heart, emerging as words of life breathed into this dead place. “God, bring your healing! Father, bring your healing!” I begged, I wept; I fought through the curses being hurled upon those in fervent prayer. “What are you doing? Get the hell out of here before we call the police! You think your prayers are going to do a thing?” Life around us was disturbed, utterly disturbed by our presence. By God’s presence.
Blessed beyond this curse, for his promise will endure.
For a mere 10 minutes I prayed and wept the heart of God. It felt like forever, yet not long enough. For 10 minutes I felt the Holy Spirit abound in an empty vessel willing to speak life into a people who knew no sensation but that of an unquenchable addiction. For 10 minutes, the Spirit ushered me into a place where God and man can meet. Strengthened by the Spirit, the lies and curses that fell upon me were washed away by the cleansing fire and flood of freedom that comes only from the Spirit.
His joy’s gonna be my strength. Since my time in Vancouver, I’ve often wondered what this experience might mean if it transpired as a daily occurrence. Instead of eagerly awaiting the Spirit to “show up” like it did at the injection site, I wonder what might happen if it resided within me all of the time; if the things I said and did when I interacted with all people, whether an addict, athlete, or atheist, were done with the aid of the Holy Spirit. I suppose it’s more than the assurance of living in the Spirit but also about the intimacy that occurs between the Father and his child. I felt sorrow for the people who were so disillusioned. I felt defeated as people gathered to point fingers.
Yet, the moment I reconciled my flawed nature with the Spirit, God showed me his heart and shared a fraction of his sorrow for his children as I wept on his behalf. That’s intimacy.
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