“What should we do?” he asks over and over again as we finish dinner. “I don’t know how to reach these kids or even give them a place to just be. We only have the YMCA for a few hours a week.”
I look through the blinds to the white house sitting just 20 feet away.
“Maybe God will ask us to buy the house next door,” I say joking. I run my fingers through my hair and laugh. We have no money to buy the house and our church has no money to buy the house. We both know this.
“Yeah, He’d have to give it to us,” he says, not smiling even a half-smile. “But He could, you know. Give it to us. Someone offered me a basketball goal for the yard last week. We could put it up on the paved drive. It would be a neutral space, like a community center.”
I watch him across the table, his wheels turning and his hands rubbing his head. I imagine a white board to his right, filling with circles and scratched out dreams. I rest my chin in my hands and I grin as I watch him work.
I pry my eyes open to all the truth I know about how God chooses the foolish things of this world and I close them to what I perceive to be the workings of utter foolishness happening right across the table from me.
And I try to keep breathing.
It’s been a week now since he came home to a yard full of children and teenagers wanting to play. Seven days since we last sat across the table from one another and played the wild card.
Since we laughed and asked each other, “Are you sure? Isn’t it ridiculous? Audacious, even?”
Mere days since excitement ran away with our good sense and we shook our heads in disbelief with the thought of what God could be up to right next door.
We’ve been living next door to the boarded up house for nearly a year.
I wash dishes every day and admire the paved drive that reaches all the way to the back yard. Great for a basketball goal, I think each time I fill the sink.
I think about Sunday morning pancakes and children’s ministry and teens playing ball. I think about a room full of canned goods and rows of peanut butter and a place where men can share biscuits and coffee and walk through the Seven Signs of John.
I think about every person who has mailed a check to go towards our “house fund”. I think about how God works all things according to His purposes and how awesome it is to sit back and watch Him work.
And all the while, Satan works his plan too. I know this and so I watch for him to slither into my thoughts.
The doubt, the self-loathing, the crippling fear of failure, of looking foolish, and he’s won a momentary battle. And I’m thinking about running away.
Or hiding out.
Or just telling God to please not give us the house.
Because this is all foolish thinking and I am no fool and really, I just can’t bear the weight of one more thing I can’t do well.
This morning, I sip coffee and I take hold of the thoughts that cripple me, that call me to hide out.
And I whisper a quiet yes to being a fool.
*An update on the house next door: We have many folks, near and far, who are working together to purchase this house that we would use as a community center of sorts. Yes, we have checked with zoning and city ordinances and been approved for everything we have asked about. Some of you have expressed an interest in helping to paint, repair small things, or donate funds to our effort. If you would like more information on how you can partner with us, please comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org As always, we covet your prayers and ask that you pray specifically for laborers. Thanks y’all!