I met the most intriguing young man, Shina, while sharing tracts yesterday. He’s not the kind of guy I’d normally share tracts to. Usually when sharing I deliberately avoid certain individuals: The weird looking people, the hard faced men, the intimidating roadside thugs, the red eyed policemen, the cantankerous market women [who use tracts as tissue papers], the dirty looking beggars and the mentally unstable folks.
What an irony of the gospel of Jesus!
I must have been deceived. How could I forget the words of Jesus in Luke 4:18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor! The poor had often been neglected. No one cared for them, no one preached to them and no one tried to set them free from bondage. And that’s why Jesus had to come, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.
But back to the story, for some reason yesterday as I walked past this dark skinned, smelly and confused looking young man I handed him one of my tracts. I had walked about 150 metres from that spot when he called from behind. It had taken him three minutes of careful consideration to decide whether he was going to bother this tract sharing native wearing young man with his problems. I’m glad he did.
As Shina spoke I was overwhelmed seeing and hearing how much people actually suffer all through life. In summary, he had just ran away from home and absolutely swore not to ever go back. His father, a “pastor” had six wives and ran a chaotic home. His grandmother was so diabolical that everyone related to her had mental issues, him included. And when she heard at the turn of the year that he had resolved to get help to stabilize mentally she had him tied, flogged again and again, and fed all sorts of diabolical concoctions. As he spoke he finished every single sentence with a “sir” and I tried to get him to stop to no avail.
This young man had been through so much. He was clearly suffering from some sort of mental illness. He kept saying “I need help sir. I need Jesus sir. I don’t know what is wrong with me sir. I know I am not normal sir. I need Jesus to help me and make me normal sir”. I had always thought and heard that the day “mad” people admit they were “mad”, they had been healed. But Shina sounded like someone whose real and intelligent self was being trapped and suppressed by some stronger spirit. His name Shina means “Open Doors”, but every good door in this young man’s life seemed to be permanently shut, and abandoned.
I felt for him deeply and invited him into my church for the Bible Study. A lot of people -from the security lady at the gate to members seated next to him- looked at him askance. But everyone remained decorous because he was with me. He sat quietly through the Bible Study and impressively read aloud scripture when asked to. But he had his head down the entire evening. He was a young man extremely low on confidence.
At the end I introduced him to a Pastor who prayed for him and urged him to go back home. He was obstinate and reiterated that he would be killed by his folks when if he returned. I prayed with him for the third time and assured him that Jesus would keep him unscathed. He smiled [astonishingly] and promised to serve Jesus for life if He does.
I’m certain Shina’s life has turned around and I’m glad God led me to him. Never again will I neglect the poor and disadvantaged. Never again will I share tracts to only people I think can read. The only word needed for this gospel is Jesus. “Jesus loves you, please love Him back” was all Shina heard and he turned to the Lord. May the Lord keep him forever.
Let’s pray for Shina,
Lord Jesus thank you because we believe you are turning Shina’s life around. Thank you because the time to favor him has come. Build him and use him Lord, make him great. And Lord we pray also for all those suppressed by the devil, those suffering so much everyday because of Satan’s wickedness, set them free Lord! And use me to bring light and hope to this dark world. Amen.