I’ve known Trevor and Karen for a couple of years. They aren’t married, but they have two children together. Karen was adopted from the foster system when she was ten. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t struggle with alcohol or substance abuse.
Trevor, on the other hand, is the youngest of several siblings. He grew up in a loving Christian home, but he also suffers from drug addiction.
I appreciate this couple because they are open and honest.
Most recently, they came to one of our ministry's pizza lunches. I hadn’t seen them in a few weeks and wanted to catch up. They were both quiet and stared down at their plates when they talked.
I learned they’ve been living on the streets and that both of their children had been placed in foster care. Trevor can’t hold down a job because of his drug habit, and Karen refuses to find work until Trevor gets his act together.
She’s tired of carrying him.
When Trevor spoke about himself, I noticed a tremendous amount of shame. He’s nearly 40 years old, and his life is a complete mess. He didn’t mean for things to go this way, and he doesn’t want them to stay this way, either. He wants to find a great job, work hard, and provide for his family.
But shame is a terrible motivator, it’s paralyzing.
He has no idea what direction to go or what step to take next. He’s lost.
I had a friend in college whose mom had a saying, “If it cries, hold it.”
I think Jesus is looking for people who are crying, just read the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. The chapter is one in which Jesus tells three stories about lost things being found – a sheep, a coin, and a wayward son. None of the stories include details as to why the lost thing (or person) became lost, it just happens. The point of each story is that someone wants to find what’s been lost.
Of course, each story is really about people. And the characters who have lost something represent God.
And God is eager to recover those who are lost. Not to punish or scold, but to embrace. Each story ends with a huge celebration when the lost becomes found.
I shared the gospel with Trevor and Karen. I told Trevor that Jesus has forgiven his sins, and that he wants to take away his shame. He believed me and said he wants to learn more.
I think that means God is planning a party, because, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7, ESV)