2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3 ESV)
I’m dealing with a very suspicious and angry dad right now.
In this ministry, I don’t often deal with parents. Mostly the young people who come to me — at this point, all of them young women because, I’m guessing, young men in this culture in the Pacific Northwest are simply not taught or acculturated to be verbal, to talk about how they feel or the things that have happened to them, though it may also be that passing around my phone number is mainly a girl thing — the young people who come to me need to be protected from their parents, or guardians, or the adults they’ve been placed with.
(I’ve talked with two young men that I know of, one the brother off a young woman who came to me, and the other his roommate when he did a few months in a juvenile detention facility. Young men, straight or queer, just don’t come to me.)
So, I’m really grateful for protective parents.
Yes, even for parents who want to protect their children from me.
“I think it’s weird that you are texting her,” he said.
And it is.
It’s weird. This ministry is weird. This calling is weird. My whole life is weird. I so don’t want to be this person on the other side of a phone number, hearing tales of abuse, of torture, of despair — each different, yet each possessed of a horrible and numbing sameness. I wanted to be a simple parish pastor, preaching and teaching and baptizing, at a church somewhere, an ordinary church full of ordinary people.
But they did not want me. They have never wanted me.
I certainly did not want to be this crazy, bug-eating, coarsely clothed man standing in the wilderness as the broken, unloved, and unwanted slowly find their way to him, looking for a little hope, a promise of redemption, an encounter with a God who does in fact love them and has not abandoned them.
I never wanted this. I never wanted any of it.
I am not the one who is coming. We are still waiting for him. But here I am, in the wilderness, standing waist-deep in river water, they know I’m here, and they are coming.
And they are coming to me.