Jesus, Our Restorer

By Kinsey Tucker, Partnership Coordinator

Every Monday night, I have the opportunity to go out with a group of people from Journey Church to meet people in our community. We meet at Watered Gardens, a local homeless shelter, and get a list of people who have recently been to Watered Gardens to receive services. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet people and reach them right where they are at.

The most important thing I’ve learned since working in homeless and poor ministry is that poverty is not caused by a lack of material objects. Chronic poverty and homelessness doesn’t happen because individuals don’t have enough food or clothes or money. Poverty is ultimately due to a lack of relationships.

Think about it. If you suddenly lost your job and couldn’t pay your rent, would you have someone in your life that you could call? Someone who could take you in?

Those who are stuck in chronic poverty have, more often than not, burned bridges with family, friends, and a church family. So when economic hardship comes, there usually isn’t someone they can turn to. Whether through drug or alcohol addiction or through constant borrowing and spending of money, the people that I meet on Monday nights don’t have strong relationships with those in their closest circles. And, more often than not, they believe that it just has to be this way, that there is no way for these relationships to ever be restored or made right. They brush this brokenness aside and try to pretend it doesn’t matter.

But a relationship with Jesus changes everything. Jesus is in the business of right relationships. He wants to restore brokenness within people.  

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.” – Jeremiah 30:17

That’s why Monday nights are so important to me. We get to visit people, not to bring them things, but to bring them a chance to talk about what’s going on in their lives. We get to sit on broken couches with people just trying to get by, people who have been outcast by society. We get to help them get one step closer to healing and introduce them to the truth and love of Christ, the ONLY one who can restore relationships. But it’s not just in that first visit that everything just becomes magically okay. A glimmer of hope is shown in that first meeting but where the restoration occurs is in coming back, not giving up, telling someone that they are worthy of right relationships.

I think of Mary and Michael, who we have visited faithfully for close to two years. This summer, Michael passed away from liver damage due to his alcohol addiction. Suddenly Mary had no one around her and she thought Michael was the only person she could turn to in her life. Visiting Mary has been hard since the loss of Michael but each visit gets a little easier as she learns to lean on Jesus to heal her brokenness, to restore relationships with her family. She is learning through her grieving process that, even though she wants to, she can’t shut out the world like she did when Michael was alive. She needs people around her and people to push her towards the King. Mary is slowly getting more connected at her church and learning how to be in real community.

Jesus is the ultimate restorer of relationships. Through healed relationships, He restores our health and our wounds and everything else that’s wrong in our lives. Issues of poverty will only be resolved through restored relationships: relationship with self, relationship with God, and relationship with man. I’m praying this today for those in chronic poverty in Joplin and all over the world. Join me?

Next Step Ministries