“‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 18:3, NASB
Smoke wafted into my breathing space from both sides. To my right sat a young woman–blessed with cornflower blue eyes–in her wheelchair. An older woman with a raspy voice relaxed in a plastic chair on my left. Others casually surrounded us, and straight ahead a bedraggled man, who appeared younger but carried an age that accompanies a hard life, peered forward in his wheelchair.
“I have a question,” he said, as I balanced my open Bible on my lap. “Why did God create hell?” Immediately, the Holy Spirit brought an answer to my mind, which I shared with all. And we were off.
Many listened intently–I’ve never been part of a Bible study with such incredibly interested people. They were polite. Respectful. Simple. Spending time with this group of special needs adults left a powerful impression on me. I’ll never forget them, for they captured a piece of my heart.
This makes me think of Jesus. As He taught, multitudes listened intently. While not everyone grasped or hungered for the truth He shared, many did. His words spoke life to them, and His love conveyed an attitude the Pharisees didn’t exude. Jesus, full of compassion and tenderness, practiced good everywhere He went. He healed the sick. He forgave sins. He loved.
Jesus noticed the unpopular and downcast. He took note of every tear and every dejected spirit. Offering hope, He drew others to Himself because He. Is. Love. Instead of eating with the well-groomed, sought-out crowd, Jesus ate with tax-gatherers and sinners.
The Lord cared about people. Quietly–but ever so significantly–He followed His Father’s initiative and impacted countless lives. A hemorrhaging woman here, a deceased son there, the demon-possessed, and the adulteress–Jesus cared and took time with each one.
We live in an increasingly immoral society, which often appears hopeless. The enemy’s work grows ever more apparent, yet let’s not forget God is always working. I found a hunger for His Word and a sincere interest in truth at a most unique Bible study full of cigarette smoke and child-like adults. I treasure the memory–the precious people–realizing that wherever I go, people need Christ.
And sometimes, we find beauty in unexpected places.