A Night at the Park

Last night as we were at Stubbs Park I sat in awe of the way God works. I love that He put a vision in the hearts of our friends at Kingdom Come Ministries and is bringing it to fruition through their faithfulness to serve whoever shows up in the park on any given Wednesday night. 

I loved the opportunity to join what they are doing - and to have our boys get to be part of it too. As Sylas was speaking there were a lot of distractions, which is to be expected in a public park. You could hear skateboards slamming against the ramps at the skate park. You could hear cars speeding by. You could see at least 3 baseball/softball teams practicing from where I was standing.

There’s a lot of life in that park. 

At one point I looked up from videoing my husband as he spoke, and I saw some adorable boys running together. They looked like they were all on a baseball team. They ran right by where we were having church. I hoped they got a glimpse of what God is doing there. 

A few minutes later I thought I saw, out of the corner of my eye, one of my boys running by. My boys were supposed to be listening to their daddy… so when I turned completely around to find that it was our 12-year-old running with some boy I had never seen before, I didn’t understand it. Later, Ty told me the story.  

He was running next to a baseball player who had apparently been in trouble with his coach and was told to run for punishment. Ty saw him running with tears pouring down his face and got up and joined him. 

He ran with him.

He took the punishment with the kid because he knew it is easier to handle when there’s someone running along beside you. 

Next thing I know, our 10-year-old is running with them too, along with 2 more of Ty’s friends who came with us to serve. Now that he had friends, the tears stopped pouring out of the little boy’s eyes. 

He had someone to shoulder the embarrassment of punishment with him. 

 

A friend who was at the park with us noticed the same thing I did… and she videoed one of the laps the boys took around the skate park with their new friend.

 

I love that Ty saw the boy hurting. 
I love that he was moved with compassion enough to get up and join him. 
I love that others saw Ty and joined him.
I love that Ty didn’t know the boy's story until later - he didn’t need to know. 

He just got moving. He got near the pain and just ran alongside the little boy until his punishment was complete. 

I think a lot of times we see people hurting and we don’t know what to do. We aren’t sure how we can help them. 
We just give ourselves excuses or allow ourselves to be paralyzed out of a fear of not knowing what step to take. 
I hate to think about how many people’s lives I could have impacted but didn’t because I didn’t take the first step toward helping them. 

A step in the direction of their pain. A step toward them instead of away.

I’ve learned I don’t have to have it all figured out. 
Ty didn’t know the boy’s story. 
He didn’t know why he was crying. 
He didn’t know why he had to run. 

He just got up and ran with him. 

It was also a picture to me of the ministry Kristin & Leslie have. They could easily blow a lot of these people off. A lot of us would. If we knew their stories and that they somehow ended up in the position they’re in (often broke, jobless & hungry) because of bad decisions, it would be easy to excuse ourselves from the situation. 

But they don’t. 
They press in. 
They run with these people... not knowing their full stories… and not needing all the details. 

They do life with them. 

Along the way, they hear their stories. Then Leslie & Kristin and others choose to love them through the bad decisions, the consequences of their actions, the fears and scars and pains they carry as they run their own races. 

It’s the gospel at work. 
It’s a beautiful picture of the Savior who stepped into our pain. 
Took it upon Himself. 
Suffered. Died. Rose again. 

That one event - the gospel - gave us the love we need to take the first step toward pain. 

He did it for us. 
We can do it for others. 

We love because He first loved us. 
Thank you, Leslie & Kristin, for living that out. And for giving us a place and opportunity to join you.