38 Stories of Amazing Grace

by DanWolgemuth on October 17, 2014

The last two weeks has afforded me the opportunity to host three separate small-group lunch events in three of our Youth for Christ regions.  At each lunch we had indigenous leaders from under-resourced communities that are now a part of the mission of Youth for Christ.

I asked each of these leaders to say their name, the city they are from, and a bit about their story.  Honestly, I think this is verbatim what I asked them.

Over the course of these three lunches, I heard 38 different stories from 38 individuals.  I gave no time constraint; my only parameter was, “a bit of your story.”

These 38 stories took roughly nine hours.  Roughly 15 minutes per individual.

Every individual entered the sharing without hurry and with a deep sense of thoughtful reflection.  Every room became sacred space as we sifted through the chaos of evil to the power of redemption.

There is very little mystery around what I heard.  This was anecdotal evidence of the statistics we hear every day.

Fatherlessness.  Abandonment.  Divorce.  Addiction.  Promiscuity.  Poverty.  Abuse.  Neglect.  Incarceration.  Educational failure.  Pregnancy.  Gangs.  Violence.   Racism.  Homelessness.  Suicide.

Hopelessness.  Shame.  Hatred.  Fear.

38 stories.

Yet, in every story, in varying degrees… rescue.  Truth.  Hope.  Pursuit.

Often the pursuing love of Jesus had a name other than His.  Frequently, the name of a YFC volunteer or staff person was blended into the brokenness like a precious herb; the name of an unrelenting relational ambassador that pressed into the pain and sin with more than sympathy or judgment.

Hope had a name before hope became Jesus.

Brianna, Erica, Dre, KT, Josh, Dane, Rob, Ken, Omar, Kara… and so many more.  Names.  Ushers.  Ambassadors.  For Jesus.  With Jesus.  To Jesus.

38 stories.  Piles of pain; not dismissed or swept away, but redeemed.   Not made-over, but made new.

Tears reminded everyone in the room of the lies; of the deception; of the enemy.  But tears were not the end of the story.  Tears watered the ground of hope.  Tears washed away the barriers to love.

The message of Jesus is true.  It’s powerful.  It’s redemptive.  It’s courageous.  It’s bold.  It’s compassionate.

 “For this is how God loved the world: He gavehis one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NLT

38 times.

Unbounded love.

Unconstrained grace.

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