I watched her carefully as she stood in line and wondered about her life.
Her choice of clothing and her choice of company alarmed me, and I quietly began to think about her parents and her teachers.
And, after noticing the pattern of cutting marks that ran up and down her arm, I began to think about her heart.
Earlier in my life, I would have looked at the girl and blamed her for her choices. I would have labeled her as “bad” and definitely scratched her off my social list.
But now, as I grow older and maybe a bit deeper in my walk with God, I’m starting to see people a little better through his eyes.
God loves that cutting teenager so much that he sent his most precious son to die for her.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Two weeks ago, Gene, an elder in our church got up with his wife before our congregation and shared a stirring testimony about their recent experience with a man named, “Sam.*”
Gene and his wife found Sam walking along a country road on a dark, moonless night. And when they asked him what he needed, he told them that he was hungry.
Now, when it comes to the “look” of a homeless person, Sam fit the bill completely and then some.
Gene said that it didn’t look or smell as if Sam had showered in a very long time. And just his presence could clear a room in a heartbeat.
In a raspy voice, Sam told them that he had walked his way from New York to Pennsylvania and was on his way to Oregon. And to look at Sam, you knew that his story was most likely true.
What makes a man leave all he knows and travel alone on foot across the country only to be found wandering in the dark hungry and homeless?
Where was his family, his friends and most especially … his heart?
We all have heart wounds don’t we? Life isn’t perfect for any of us. Bad things happen and memories of those bad things often get tucked away somewhere in our psyche. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist – and often they can cause us to act out in a certain way when a hurtful memory is triggered.
As for the cutting teen and Sam, God only knows what hurtful memories lie tucked inside of them.
Either way, everything about them screams a loud: “Help!” doesn’t it?
I’ve been reading an eye-opening book called, “Healing Life’s Hurts through Theophostic Prayer,” by Edward M. Smith. And I am amazed at how this prayer ministry works.
Smith explains it by saying, “The term theophostic comes from two New Testament Greek words Theos (God) and Phos (light). These two words describe God illuminating a previously darkened area of one’s mind and thoughts with His truth. Theophostic Prayer Ministry is God’s true Light, the Spirit of Christ bringing divine truth experientially into one’s historical life experiences.”
In other words, through this prayer ministry, God takes the lies we’ve believed about ourselves due to our hurtful memories and replaces them with the truth. And often, the negative ways that we been “coping” with these lies through things like drugs, pornography, alcohol and eating disorders no longer have a hold on us.
I’ve been through a few sessions of Theophostic Prayer myself, and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to be free from the lies I’ve believed.
Some of these lies were in fact rooted in a childhood memory and I didn’t even realize they were there.
But when God brought them to the surface through this ministry and replaced them with the truth, an amazing sense of peace and freedom washed over me.
Maybe you’re not a cutting teen or a homeless wanderer, but I’m sure that, just like me, you’ve got some wounds that need God’s healing. And I encourage you to seek it.
Because if Jesus came to set us free – why are we all still walking in bondage?
*Sam’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.
Philippians 2:13New American Standard Bible
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Ephesians 1:18New American Standard Bible
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,