Saturday, April 19, 2008

The hood gets personal. . .

I've been wrestling with whether or not to comment about some things we are facing as a family right now.  Much of what I write, think and teach about is in the 3rd person. Sometimes I venture into 2nd person and challenge others specifically, especially as I feel strongly about issues of racial reconciliation, the gospel, issues of injustice, etc...

Today I am working on a message called "The Drama of the Unfolding Kingdom".  I will be tracing the way in which God is bringing renewal, deliverance, salvation, peace, joy, righteousness-justice, healing alive in the world through us as His people.  

As I am working on this and consider the parable of the illegal alien  (the good samaritan slightly modernized!) I find myself in the story.  See the story captures this idea that the least expected people turn out to be agents of the kingdom.  I personally prefer to be the agent and dispense grace to others.  .  .  

In the past couple of years we've been blessed to be in the position to dispense the gifts.  Specifically we've helped several people get into housing, make homeownership affordable, avoid losing their home. . . etc..  

Yesterday when I was at a local neighborhood meeting (acting in my role of agent-dispenser)  working on technology empowerment projects for our community, a recent acquaintance -- a guy from the neighborhood -- came up to me and reminded me that he coordinates a local neighborhood housing assistance program (WECAN).  His boss is a hero of mine that I had recently hoped to invite to join our board of directors.  

He said he wanted to talk with me after the meeting (probably affirming my role in helping others I thought, or sharing a new way for us to work together).   He told me that he gets a report regularly called a pre-foreclosure report (or something similar).   "Hamernick is a pretty unusual name" he said.  "Yep", I responded, "so what?"  "Your name is on the report".  I was stunned.  

I can't really describe what we've put in this house to make a home in the community here.  A year's worth of renovation in which I learned electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other things to get the work done.  Time, blood, sweat and now tears.  The circumstances of increasing taxes, renters not paying, downturn in housing values and sales, increase in mortgage qualification requirements have put us on the brink.  Ok, Lord. you can have it all.  

Lest I leave the impression that I am not to fault in any of this. . . we bit off more than we can chew.  I have made significant errors in judgement during the past year. I  wish I could tell you I was wise and innocent in all things.  But it wouldn't be true. 

How can I help?  He asked.  I was speechless.  

I don't know. I replied.    (this is one of the many ironies here.  So often when I act as agent I have the answer but those with whom I interact don't know what to do. . . the tables are now fully turned.) 

I spoke with my Dad later that night.  Like several people he said "If I could take care of it I would. . . "  but he added, "we have to trust God and realize that you can't carry this or anything by yourself".   

All words of grace to me.

Who is the agent of the kingdom now?  

6 comments:

Abby Diehl said...

We will all be praying for you here at Taylor University.

God works everything out for the good of those who serve Him and are called to His purpose.

hammerdad said...

Thanks Abby and to the others who've emailed.

I appreciate the encouragement from everyone and wrestled with whether or not to even put this post up. My point in writing about it was really to share in a personal way how upside down the kingdom and its work is.

The obvious question that seems to recur is what specific prayer can be offered. Probably our most critical issue is converting our construction financing to a fixed rate mortgage, and the second is that we trust God in all things.

Pray that we can do this before the end of the month.

Kyle said...

Thanks for being willing to share this. I can't imagine learning a lesson in this way, but you have taught us all through it. Like Abby said, our prayers are with you, and although that feels so empty it is our commitment.

Aaron said...

Joel,
I am not sure what you are saying? Is your house going to be foreclosed or is this more precautionary/warning?

Let me know man! Call me!

Peace

Shlomo said...

B"H

Hi Joel,

I pray that things are looking better for you now in terms of this situation.

Shlomo

Kristen said...

Hey Joel...it is humbling to accept grace from other people, but you can learn so much. We have been on the receiving end lately so we can relate a bit.. and to see the power of prayer as God's people pray. wow!
take care. Kristen