One of the occupational hazards of being a therapist is that you gain insight on a little secret. Namely, things are worse in the world than many people suspect. Police officers know it. Social workers know it. Some journalists and some pastors know it, too.
Without a doubt there is beauty in our world. But like I wrote in an earlier post on trust, these are islands and occasional subcontinents in an ocean of heartache.
We reach out for love. We desperately stretch out our hands for inner peace. But left to our own devices, these desires seem to float just a fraction of an inch beyond our fingertips.
In the book of Matthew, just before Jesus sends out his disciples, he tells them, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
I love this verse. Throughout scripture Jesus tells us the world is not as it should be. He knows many suffer. He knows you suffer, too.
But, because He loves us dearly, because we are His children, He has come to fight for us, to tip over tables for us, to literally bleed for us, and to rescue us. ... And, He is sending out His disciples to do His work.
In Daytona Beach, there is an area I call, the devil’s playground. Here human suffering is an open wound. In the middle of the devil’s playground is the Daytona Outreach Center (D.O.C.), led by two of Jesus' disciples, Ray and Susan Kelley.
From time to time I visit the D.O.C., and never leave without asking Ray to pray for me.
Prostitutes, drug dealers, addicts, homeless people, and too often their children, surround the Daytona Outreach Center.
Ray and Susan were once inmates of the devil's playground as crystal meth addicts. That was before Jesus rescued them.
Ray and Susan are not Jesus-is-my-boyfriend type Christians. They are battle-scarred, former hostages of the enemy, who now belong to Jesus Christ.
Ray and Susan could have returned to the peaceful existence of suburban living or moved out to the country. They could have taken normal jobs or went back to school. Instead they rejoined the battle. They returned to the devil's playground, this time as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The kind of peace the world talks about is an illusion, a lie. Lasting inner peace is only possible through Jesus Christ. But until He returns, the battlefield is active and real.
Please watch this video about my friends Ray, Susan, and others at the D.O.C. ...