Is not this the kind of FASTING I have chosen:to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations;you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. I naturally want self-preservation and self-advancement. I spend a lot of time and energy on those two things. Just look at my to-do list and my calendar. Thank God His heart is the opposite. He joyfully gives Himself to me. He doesn't need to preserve or advance Himself. He knows those things only enslave me and He wants to gently move me into the place where He lives, the best place of all, the place of healing and freedom. But how am I moved there? The "treasure map," as Juan calls it, of Isaiah 58 makes it plain. There just doesn't seem to be anything complicated about it. One true path to my healing includes the poor, the downtrodden, the outcast, the oppressed, the broken. Of course, when we see how Jesus lived, He seems to have clearly understood this unpopular path. He engaged with and loved those who were on the fringes. He spoke of the poor, the prisoner, the needy, the sick, the outcast and their value to Him. He believed that the poor are the portal to the heart of God because as we see, hear and know them, just like Juan did, we see, hear and know Him, the one who reflects this best. They are the portal to the heart of God, not because they are a problem to be solved, but a people to be loved. I am not God's gift to the poor. They are His gift to me. I want as much healing for MYSELF as I can get in this lifetime. I want my heart to be fully and deeply satisfied. I want to remove the "pointing finger" of judgment from my life and replace it with the loving hand of grace. I want to hear God's inner voice of love on this journey rather than my own voice of condemnation. I want supernatural strength for my human frame as I am approaching the next years. God promises all that and more as I take the uncomfortable journey towards the poor. I'm not sure how it works, but I am hopeful to take another step towards compassion and connection. I also want as much healing for OTHERS as they can get in this lifetime. I want that for you. It's my overarching goal. I want my personal inner garden to be well-watered so that I can be a place where other can come and drink deep the love of God, especially those who are thirsting for meaning and hope. And mostly, I want a new name. I want to be called (and Allen, take note for my grave headstone) REPAIRER of Broken Walls and RESTORER of Streets with Dwellings. I want the broken to be healed and their true homes to be found in God Himself. REPAIRER. RESTORER. What really can be better than this? Nothing. And God promises this to me. I'm counting on it. This is and is not about the poor. This is about God. This is about your healing and mine. This is about hearing God's words of love to my heart. There are broken, hurting, poor people all around me. I don't have to travel far to see them and to go after them in their brokenness. God came after me in mine. This is the best stuff! Right now, there are people who are just waiting for me to come to them. I want more of God. They are the portal. REPAIRER. RESTORER. It has a nice ring to it! (If you would like to hear the talk from Juan that changed my heart, please click HERE. You won't regret it!)