I live with an overwhelming sense of being truly rescued.
If you took my family and went back one generation to my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents then listed every sin in the Bible, it could be matched to a name and face on my family tree. Murder, stealing, lies, big things, small things – we are the faces that represent the destructive choices people make.
Just a few, short years before my birth, my mother and father were rescued from homelessness, drugs and abuse. Rescued because someone went to them - loved them. Someone told them of Amazing Grace. It’s the fingerprint of our family – where sin abounds, grace is found even more. Simple, exponential, running over. Amazing Grace. Grace that is enough.
There is a message that needs to be heard that says stop being busy… and remember to love. It’s the message Jesus conveyed in the story of The Good Samaritan. The people who passed by weren’t bad people; they were just busy people. And in the mayhem, someone saw the madness of a society too busy to love.
This Samaritan man broke open, and his actions screamed at injustice, “Not on my watch will you win!” Instead of being overwhelmed by the problem, he became the solution. In his ordinary coming and goings, in his everyday business, he loved one person well. God isn’t always looking for outrageous, radical, super-stars, but everyday men and women who will love well. And one person who loves another well, will change a family’s history.
So I ask, “look at my picture- do I look hungry? Do you think I have enough to eat? Do I look like the child of homeless parents?” And your answers should be a resounding, “NO.” That is Amazing Grace!
It’s love that comes to fragmented pieces and brings restoration and hope. Love remakes a finished product that doesn’t resemble the former ways of life! My family’s experiences shaped me significantly. I didn’t go to church as a child to hear about Bible stories. I went to church because I was a part of God’s story – His thrilling story where broken, awkward people are rescued and put back together in a way that makes them newer, fresher, upgraded somehow.
When I read about the murderer who was forgiven, I see the family face saddened by her crime. And when I hear the story of the lonely and devastated who were hungry, I see my mother, and it all feels so very personal! It compels me to strive for a lifestyle where I live in such a way that my choices reflect the grace I have lived. There is a longing deep inside me to stay in His story, to wake up each day and find out where He is and what He is doing.
I have to be very honest and say that following Jesus and loving others, it is awkward – and messy – and it isn’t comfortable or even safe. I can never imagine all the ways that the cross was very awkward and how Jesus made sense of the messy lives somehow. He never commands those who love Him to aim for comfortable or stay close to home and play it safe. But He said He would always be right beside those who choose His ways. His presensce is the prize and His presence is with me.
So when I see His presence not yet come in hurting people, it breaks me open inside. I hear God’s heart saying, “Bring them along. They can come too!”
So riding in Bike Out Hunger is a natural response for me – a speed bump in my life that reminds me, I need to stop and respond. I think it makes Jesus smile to see his children play in a way that helps people – bringing one’s love for athletic sport and passion for helping those in need into a singular-focus. Bike Out Hunger brings the best of those two worlds together. It is why I ride!
By Charity Stephens, a rocking wife and mom of three from Waco who loves Jesus, helping others, running marathons and photography!