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The Path We Choose to Travel...

Updated: Jun 24

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Dry and thirsty...This is how I would describe our clients when they arrive at our door. Most of our clients are the very picture of weary and burdened. They have been battered by life in a flawed world. Relationship woes, financial hardship, homelessness, joblessness, drug addiction, and food insecurity are just some of the issues that have taken their life off track and onto a path toward destruction.

Her path: We have seen many women that have traveled a long way to avoid the mess of their lives. You are probably familiar with the account of Jesus meeting the woman at the well in Samaria. If you are not, I encourage you to read John 4:1-29. The woman visited the well for water in the heat of the day to avoid her shame, and the condemnation of others. I chose to travel the road in a dry and dusty land to avoid the mess I made of my life. I could not face the shame and condemnation I was sure I would have for being 19, pregnant and unmarried. It is human nature to shy away from the mess that we make in our lives. One thing that I had in common with this woman at the well…I thought I could hide my mess from God too.


His path: The Jews of the bible traveled a long and arduous path to avoid the mess of their history with the Samaritans. Look at the map provided to see that the people of Israel would travel miles out the way around Samaria when going from Judea to Galilee. Every Jew took the well-traveled path along the Jordan river to avoid contact with Samaritans.

Every Jew accept Jesus that is. After leaving Judea, He traveled straight to Samaria. He did not take the more commonly traveled path along the Jordan river. He walked straight to Jacob’s well and ended up at the perfect place at the precise moment to meet her.

In His conversation with the woman that He met at the well, Jesus went straight to the heart of the matter with her. He knew her mess, He knows mine, and He knows each of our clients. You cannot avoid Him, believe me, I tried.

In verse 20 we see the woman trying to divert and distract the Lord from discussing her mess. (I so feel this!) His words that pointed out her sin must have felt like a scalpel piercing her with no anesthesia applied.

She tries to distract Him off the subject of her sin with religiosity. She tries to trip Him up about the location of where we should worship. He again brings it right back to the heart of the matter because our Lord is undistractable! Halleluiah for that! Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”  John 4:21 & 23 - 24

Our path: Spirit and truth! That is our path. We are called to follow Jesus through the narrow gate and the road less traveled. Here at Refuge, we wholeheartedly believe that our mandate is to be the well where Jesus can meet more women like the Samaritan. If I could chronicle for you all the divine appointments that have happened through this little ministry, I would fill our new office suite from floor to ceiling with paper.

Let me describe one recent encounter…Just like the woman at the well had a need for water, many of our clients come to us for simple basic needs. In this case it was diapers.

A mother of six children made an appointment at the very end of the workday. She arrived 30 minutes late at 4:30pm. This woman was thin, and she looked exhausted as she walked out of the hot Georgia sun. Her advocate gently guided her to one of our comfortable and cool counseling rooms where the conversation began about how we can help meet her needs.

A little back story for this client...This was her third visit with us. Her first appointment was for a pregnancy test and ultrasound, where she stated her intentions to abort this pregnancy. She subsequently chose life after seeing her baby during the ultrasound. (PTL!) She had been here once after the birth of this child for baby items. Previously when she filled out her client forms, the question for her faith preference indicated no religion, not a believer. On this day, this quiet, thin, and exhausted woman asked for help with basics like diapers, wipes, and some summer clothes for her youngest two children. Her Refuge advocate happily searched our inventory and gave her what we could. This mother was so thankful.

Every client that we have visited with in the past 40 years, is always asked one question before the client leaves. That question is, “Can I pray for you?” On this day, at this appointment, this mother said “No”.

But God…He led the advocate to press on. She asked, “Can I pray for your children?” Answer, “Yes”.

As the prayer began with bowed heads, the advocate asked for a hedge of protection around the children. She continued to pray as the Spirit led her.

“Lord, please give this sweet mama wisdom and discernment that the Holy Spirit would direct her path and help her teach her children to live a life that You want for them.”

She ended the prayer with asking the Lord to bless this mother and give her a heart for Jesus and that He would bless her family.

As heads were raised, this sweet mama had streaming tears and trembling lips. She asked if she could hug her advocate. They shared a warm embrace and a friendly smile.

We are called to worship in the Spirit and truth. We did not need to point out her mess. All we are called to do is love the one’s that come to this well for a drink…or diapers.

We may never see this mama again, or she may come back, and we can continue to build a relationship with her so we can point her to Jesus. We don’t know what the future holds for her…but He does. All we know is that she came here one way, she left here different, and all that happened in between was Him!


 

Join us for the 2024 Un-Banquet...As we celebrate 40 years of the Lord's provision for this community through The Refuge Center. It's a Date Night with a Purpose!





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