On our hearts lately has been the concept of looking back in order to look ahead. Why do this? Psalm 77:11-12 says, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
We’ve often encouraged ourselves with the success stories, since, to be honest in ministry, those are few and far in between. Then we’ve thought of those who at this point in peoples’ lives seem to be failures. And then there are others whom we have yet to see the outcomes of their stories. Over the summer, we’ve seen many new clients and dealt with upwards of 40 cases of those who are in homeless situations. We’ve had some tough losses too that have really made us wonder if we’re doing enough. At one time we had a gentleman come into the office a few times. The first time he came, he asked if we could help him move his stuff into a storage unit. David organized help from a local church to help him. He shared with us that he was having a tough time and was currently on dialysis. David saw him on two other occasions, but he never shared much. It was with a heavy heart that we heard this man had recently been found dead in his car at a local business, apparently homeless, and most likely not getting the full help and care he needed for his illness. The saddest thing; he wasn’t that old and yet he was gone from this life already.
The questions arise, “Could I/we have done more? Why didn’t he get the full help he needed? How are people and others like this guy, as a veteran, falling through the cracks?” Proverbs 16:26 says, “The laborer’s…hunger drives him on.” You see, it is a hunger to help people, to let their stories break our hardness of hearts, that should feed us with a passion that works for us that keeps us moving forward even when we do not know what to do.
We recently had a friend, who has been a client, at our house for supper one night. We were humbled to hear him share his story with us. We will call him Paul; about a month ago a pastor brought him into our office. The pastor told me of this man’s dire condition and threats of suicide and asked what he should do. Not knowing what he could do with our friend, he brought the guy in. After spending several hours with Paul, we brought him to a crisis counselor and decided to keep reaching out. Before leaving we prayed with him specifically for the pain in his legs. He told us the next day that the pain for which he had suffered for years was then gone. He is doing well and, in his words, “The happiest and best he has been in a while.” Granted, most of the help this man has received is through this local pastor and not us by any means. We are just a part of the larger story. He calls me almost every day now asking advice or to come pray and talk with his neighbors. It is amazing to see that he wants everyone to know of the Good News that he has received and to share it so that others can experience it too!
Yesterday he called to tell us how excited he was. God had answered a prayer for provision which we had prayed with him about the day before. Less than 10 minutes after praying, his anxiety was gone and someone called and offered to pay his utility bill in exchange for light work. He was stoked. He then asked if we could come pray for his neighbor who was legally blind with something called Best disease. We went and shared the Gospel with her. In her words she had “flashings, floaters, and distorted vision.” We prayed once and she no longer had the flashing lights. We prayed again and the Lord really started to minister to her about other things in her life. She was pouring tears. When she opened her eyes she said, “Oh no, something is wrong with my contacts. Oh wait!! Something is different. I haven’t seen this clearly in years. Can I give you guys a hug? This is crazy!!” All the while Paul was beaming.
We look forward to the future as we encourage ourselves with what God has done in the past. Ministry is always a struggle and sacrifice. Some take the Good News which we plant in their hearts and run with it like Paul, towards a better life. Others take it and seemingly don’t change their way of life or fall back into the addictions that have them bound. But we know God’s in control and He’s got each and every person in His hands. All we can do is be the willing vessel to be there when those who are hurting or in need come looking for help. As Proverbs says, we let what’s happened be the fuel for the future. And every once in awhile, we should stop, breathe, remember and move forward. Thank you for your willingness to allow us to be an extension of hope and grace with those whom we meet!
Many Blessings to all!
The Lyons Family
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About David & Rachael Lyons
David got saved at the Brownsville Revival in 1996 and is a graduate of Fire School of Ministry. He was a missionary in the Netherlands from 2002 to 2006 before moving back to the U.S. in the Fall of that year where he met Rachael. They were married in August of 2008 after Rachael graduated from the school and they moved to Peru to serve as missionaries from July of 2011 until November. of 2017 when they moved back to lead a ministry in the Midwest. They have one child, Rylie, who is 18 months old and another on the way in December.