Strip clubs, knives and addiction
“I do not need safety as much as I need Jesus.”
This is fast becoming my ‘mantra’.
I find myself repeating this lyric from a Rend Collective song rather more often than I would like. For a long time I have lived a rather comfortable middle class existence. I have taken my safety and the safety of my family for granted.
However, having moved to a more challenging neighbourhood I am having to remind myself that safety isn’t as important as being obedient to Jesus.
The first day at my children’s new school we walked home together. On this 15 minute walk alone we walked past the venue opposite the school that, up until very recently, had been a strip club. We made our way through a group of teenagers bragging about the knife battle they’d been in and also encountered a very drunk gentleman meandering his way to who knows where. On the first day we moved into our new house a driver of a stolen car crippled his vehicle mid-car chase and it came to rest outside our front gate. He was promptly arrested 5 metres from our front step.
God has graciously provided us with a lovely home, yet outside the front door there is unavoidable need and deprivation.
Whilst I feel ill-equipped to know how to change the problems I see in my new neighbourhood, I cannot ignore them. Instead I must allow these issues to stir my compassion, motivate me to pray and to act. Gladys Aylward didn’t stop in the face of impossible circumstances, repeated rejection, poverty, prison riots, war and famine. She was ‘only’ a parlour maid from England but she rescued the lives of many in war torn China. She gained a reputation of going with a mighty God of miracles, whom people began to seek out when they saw what He did through her courage and faith.
Sometimes I feel I alone can do very little to help the problems I see in the streets around me, yet this is precisely the point. I can’t; but I go with a mighty God who can.
We haven’t moved into the area on our own, a number of families and couples are moving here with us. I walk to school with a friend whose family are part of the church plant. We have decided to pray together as we walk. We are excited to see what God will do! We aim to build a loving community of people here with a clear vision and a powerful God. I’m convinced we will make a big difference. The Church remains God’s plan A for our society.
As for myself, I admit, I am afraid. I worry I’ve made a poor choice for my boys; exposing them to the realities of a difficult neighbourhood. Yet I will continue to rely on Jesus and trust that he will keep us safe.
He gave me this bible verse before I began the school run today:
“Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you … to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:3-4
He is so good to me.
I do not need safety as much as I need Him.