April 10, 2015

Bruised, Hurting and Dirty / George Kane

Open your heart and listen for God’s voice

George KaneOne afternoon my friends Evan, Mary and Anne were out knocking on doors and sharing the Gospel with neighbors when, behind a closed door, a voice shouted, “Come in!”

Evan cracked the door open and peered inside. A woman sat blinking on a mattress on the floor. “We’re Christians,” Evan said, introducing his trio. “I work third shift,” the woman replied. “Now isn’t a good time.”

Evan apologized and was about to leave when a visitor to the house, a young mom with a stroller in tow, introduced herself as Moira. “You can come over to my house!” Moira said.

On the walk to her house, Moira explained that she’d done door-to-door street evangelism herself, and that people had often been “really mean,” so she felt for Evan, Mary and Anne.

Evan asked Moira if she’d ever heard God speak to her. “No, but I would really like to!” she said. “Sometimes when my life gets crazy, I’ll lock myself in the bathroom to pray and try to hear from him!”

The missionaries told Moira the story of Pentecost, and how the Holy Spirit makes it possible for Christians to communicate with God in a special, direct way. Moira was eager to receive more of the Holy Spirit, so the missionaries laid their hands on her shoulders, praying out loud with Moira.

When they finished, Moira looked visibly brighter. Smiling, she stammered for words, saying, “Something just kind of…!” as she excitedly waved her hands up away from her chest.

The missionaries were excited too. They suggested some Scripture for her to learn more about the Holy Spirit. They followed up with her in the following weeks to encourage her, to teach her about prayer, and to share in fellowship with her. Moira’s life and relationship with God really seemed to be improving.

 Then without warning, Moira disappeared. For weeks, the missionaries sought her out, but to no avail. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in mission work: people often disappear for long periods of time. Sometimes they resurface in a better place with the Lord than when they started. Sometimes they don’t.

Finally, the missionaries decided to try Moira’s house once more. As they were knocking, a car pulled up, and Moira jumped out. She ran to Mary, hugged her and wept. She explained that her boyfriend had a drug dealer friend whom they’d let room with them, even though they were afraid of relapsing into old habits. Sure enough, they’d both fallen back into drugs.

Then, in the midst of her relapse, Moira said, she heard God speak. “I heard God say, ‘If you don’t stop, you’ll kill the life inside you.’ ” Moira ran out, got a pregnancy test, and learned that she was pregnant.

They kicked the drug dealer friend out that same day.

When it comes to hearing God speak, Pope Francis has taught that everyone, even a serious sinner, has the capacity to “Open up your heart and listen to what God is saying to you.”

Moira may not have solved all the problems of her life, but with her heart open, she was able to hear God speak to her in a moment when hearing God really mattered.

(George Kane is a graduate of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and a former member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. You can read more of his columns at georgekane.wordpress.com.)

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