This morning at drop-in, Mary told me she was looking for a new place to live. Given the lack of promising housing options before her and the uncertainty of the future, she wondered if God might be punishing her. In the same breath she told me that she often felt “warm” when she came to any church. When I asked her what she thought this meant, she said that she felt “welcomed” and – putting her hand on her heart – said that “God was right there.” We talked about how a God of warmth, welcome, and nearness – a God whom she readily sensed – seemed at odds with the God of punishment she feared.
She also told me she had pain in her right leg and toward the end of our conversation, I asked her if I could pray for her – for her housing situation as well as for her leg. Afterwards, I asked her how she felt and she said the pain in her shin was gone but that there was still pain in her ankle. We prayed again and this time it was gone! She wiggled her foot, tried walking (reporting no pain!), and looked at me and said “Are you a magician?” I assured her I was not and said rather, that Jesus had drawn near to her, touched her with the warmth of his Spirit, and healed her; that he cared deeply about her housing situation and her leg, and wasn’t in the slightest interested in punishing her. We both reveled in the joy of a God of lavish grace and mercy, and Mary wanted to share her experience of him today with you.