I received a letter today from a woman whom I've written for over two years now. It was a short one page letter and I've stared at the screen for quite a while trying to come up with words to respond to her. I'm speechless. My heart is aching but my mind is numb.
She is scheduled to be released in a few short days and she has no where to go. I cannot get a letter to her in time so I can at least pick her up and the Chaplain will not return our calls. Our housing is full to capacity and my heart is in my throat as I watch another woman being released with a bus ticket and a $50 check. She has no clothes, no place to lay down her first night and she is to make it in the world with no one beside her. I don't know if she has found a halfway house yet. Her letter says, "I should be released this month. It's my target month. I have completed everything they told me to. I haven't heard anything since I got my answer in November. I have no one to call and find out. It doesn't matter at this point. Things will be the same - bumming, pathetic and alone. Some things never change."
She is defeated. She is facing a life she doesn't want to return to and yet, her solutions look no different than her life four years before.
"Where are you God?" I ask as I rack my brain for a solution. I'm overwrought and without power. I am helpless. She is helpless. I have tried for two years to be light and salt in the world and I am reduced to feeling as though my hollow words were just that in her life. As I read her letter I am defeated. I feel sad and worry takes over.
Then I know there is little I can do but let God take over. Psalms 46:10 says "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." (NIV) The NAS version says "Cease striving and know that I am God..." and the GWT says it this way, "Let go [of your concerns]! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth."
I am still.
Tonight I can lift this woman up in prayer and I can reflect back on my own dark days in county when I knew all that faced me was a Salvation Army shelter and hard days walking the streets. When God didn't walk with me and I didn't know Him my thoughts were dark. When life had little to offer and I was helpless alone I could not hear Him.
And yet I know this precious child of God, defeated now, can be delivered and in her deliverance God can be glorified.
Monday will be a crazy day I'm sure as I begin calling again and working the solutions God rests on my heart to pursue but for now....I need be still, to hear His voice.