A Review of Crossroads by William Young

What if you could take a walk inside your soul?
What if you could view the world from another persons perspective? Feel their emotions, see their pain, experience their joy?
There are some of the glimpses Wm. Paul Young gives us in "Crossroads" his next piece of work after his famous piece of work "The Shack".
He takes us on a journey with a no good, rotten, selfish man, Anthony Spencer, given a chance to make things right in his last moments on earth. 
He's able to see pain he's caused with his family and those around him, but more importantly, see the pain he's caused himself by shutting down his capacity to love and let others love him. By taking a journey in another woman's head, he's able to see what real love and community looks like and find himself capable of making the decisions to selflessly love and save another person.
A bit predictable? Yes.
But Wm Paul Young helps you to wrestle with lots of questions that you probably ask yourself, others or God on a daily basis. 
He asks the questions we're afraid to ask God because we don't want to know the answers. He makes more accessible the conversations we should be having with people who want to know more about God.
He doesn't answer them all - but sometimes there's simple freedom in the asking.
It's worth the read. Fast, easy and entertaining. 


Red Hope

There's a girl I keep thinking about. I've met her several times out on the track, but two weeks ago was the first time she's spent any time really opening up or talking to us. I'll call her "Red."

I can't get Red out of my head because of how defeated she is. And how helpless I feel to assist her in any way, to give her hope or to make a difference in her situation. I feel defeated for her and wish so desperately I had more comfort to give, or more eloquent words, or better answers. But life is shit for her. And it is scary. And it really feels impossible.

Red has tried running away from her pimp two times before, and each time he has found her. Once, she made it three month and thought she was free, but he showed up one day ending the elated freedom she thought she had found. She had gotten rid of her cell phone, deleted all online presence and moved across the country. HOW did he find her? She still has no clue other than his interconnectivity with others involved in trafficking all across the U.S.

Having to listen to her tell us that there was no way we could ever possibly help her was maddening. It was depressing. And I froze in the moment. All I could do was acknowledge how impossible the situation feels and even sounds, but confess that deep within my heart I believe in a God that is bigger and can conquer even that which is impossible. She smiled a little at that and said, "I guess one day it'll work out, it just has to be the right timing, and I don't think that's now. But I'll try again someday."

I hope she will. I am inspired by her resilience, confidence and persistance. She is a fighter -and despite her impossible circumstances, she believes freedom can one day he be hers. She just has to fight both an internal and external battle with defeat each day in an effort to get to that place. I pray for Red everyday. She is vibrant and has a life of things waiting before her. She has our number, and I hope she'll call it when she feels that timing is right again - because I believe in my gut that God loves her deeply and passionately and will come to her rescue when she is ready to try again.

Will you pray with me that Red finds the courage to try again and that God would meet her with freedom and protection?


When is enough, enough?

I saw K on the street this last weekend. It took until about half way though our conversation, when she mentioned her last name actually, for me to remember having met her about two years ago. Two years. Two years and she's still out on the streets. Drunk. High. Wandering around, not making any sense.

I guess I'm not surprised. She was there long before we met her two years ago - and she very well may be out there for many more years.

But it was the conversation I had with her the other night that has stuck with me and made me think and rethink about that exchange.

She told me that she knew God. She gave her life to Him - she did the whole thing. But she's still here. NOTHING has changed. And she's tired. So that's it. She gives up and she's just hoping it is enough. Because she's tried to be a good person but there's only so many times a person can get knocked down before they can't take it anymore. "I better be going to Heaven, cause I don't know what else to do. And I've got nothing else to give."

I told her I thought she was. Maybe you would have said something different. But I honestly believed it. She gave her life to God - and it's been a shit life since then. Doesn't that go against everything we preach to people? We tell them to give their life to God and he will turn it around! But it doesn't always work like that. Sometimes, life is just hard! Sometimes, God just walks with you through the pain. But I am beginning to realize more and more that it take a whole lot of practice to recognize God in the midst of that pain and hurt. It is easier to self medicate.

All I could say to that woman was God LOVES you, just as much as the day you decided to love him. And he's never left you. You're frustrated, and you want to give up on the whole thing and hope it was good enough - well, it was. But don't give up, cause God won't give up on you. I know it sucks out here, but no one understands abandonment, mockery, loneliness and judgement like God.

I didn't say all of that. I wish I had. All I said was "I think you are. God loves you. Don't give up on yourself." But she wasn't really with it. She just shook her head and got more and more frustrated.

In Gary Haugen's book "The Good News About Injustice" he talks about the simple concept that his friends "knew that they could never understand the deepest part of me if they didn't have some understanding of the hard things I had seen." This was such an easy concept for me to grab onto. And then he related it to God. We can't truly understand the deepest parts of God until we have some understanding of the hard things God has seen. And God sees EVERYTHING! God knows the deepest pain of each individual heart.

I think I understood God just a little bit better after last weekend. Wanting so badly to help and love K, her wanting desperately to receive it as she clung so tightly to my neck in a hug she didn't want to let go of, while at the same time saying she was better off alone and didn't need love or help.

God loves you despite your frustration and resistance, K. And you have done enough. Don't try or run anymore. He's right there. Just hang on to that hug.