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Stretching Our Limits

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. This is your reasonable service. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Recently Safe to Sleep has been in the news. The month of July was a record month, with several nights stretching our capacity beyond the 50-guest limit.
Our Director at Safe to Sleep, Kelly Harris, is quoted in the News Leader saying, “I don’t want to have to turn away that first-time person. They are scared to death and never been homeless.”
Kelly tells me that she did stretch the limits of our program capacity, yet she had to turn away two women who needed shelter at Safe to Sleep during that week in late July when so many needed shelter. For Kelly, and for me, even turning one away is too many. A special thank you to several generous people who responded to this need with gifts for cots, enabling us to stretch and accommodate more women.
Limits, and stretching them, are a reality we live with every day. One such God-given limitation is our bodies. Indeed, there is only so much our bodies can do to stretch, despite what our minds might think. Lately I’m paying more attention to the limits of my body, what can be stretched, and what God desires through my body.
The limitations inherent in language and words (and space here in this brief set of notes) combine to prevent me from sharing what happened to me when I let my body respond to a Divine “shoulder-tap” to visit a location in Kansas City where the homeless sleep outside. Perhaps the best summation of my experience is this: God assured me, body and soul, that my presence in that unfamiliar place was a divine appointment. I felt safe and loved. I sensed that I was a new person, maybe even a “first-time person”. You see, whether I intended it or not, God made it possible for me to be identified that hot, summer day as one who is homeless, rather than as Mark Struckhoff, and all the external, perishable things that being “me” includes.
Despite the limitations of our bodies, we are created in the image and likeness of God, and we are thus a unique and mysterious means of making God present in the world, whether our minds can comprehend this or not.
Sometimes, we are aware when we make our bodies available to God, for God. And sometimes we are not so aware. Maybe allowing my body to be given to be stretched, and then letting my mind follow, has a way of stretching my limits in a way that God blesses.
Maybe. What do you think?
In Joyful Service,
Mark Struckhoff
Executive Director

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