We have a strong cultural opinion of what strength is and we believe strongly that we need to maintain a strong appearance so we won’t be weak, knocked down and out. That’s not too far off base much of the time, but, scripturally and otherwise there are always exceptions ...
On Saturday, April 9th at 2 AM, Kentril, a 20-year-old man, a mentor and role model, was gunned down... wrong place, wrong time, no sense at all. Hearts crashed. Fear flooded, overwhelmed neighborhood, family and friends.
The next day, April 10th, an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon, approximately 50 of us First Responders arrived from various parts of town. We stood on the sidewalk directly where the shooting had occurred. Standing next to me, holding my hand, was a worn-out, old-looking Black man. This was his first F.R. time.
When we finished praying, I shook hands with him and asked his name. It is Curtis. [The last sentence in the First Responders post: "See, there’s this guy...."] We walked and talked for a couple minutes and I offered him a ride home.
During the 3-minute drive he shared his story with me. Curtis had been on crack and other drugs for most of his life. He is 52, has been in prison 8 times. Curtis has been “clean” for a year and lives at a Christian rehab house. He is thankful he was in prison so often .... he believes if he had not been behind bars, time after time, he would have been dead through murder or O.D. He is one grateful man.
We have become friends. In this short time, his body appears more solid, his face exhumes more light, and,when we meet, he always hugs me and tells me he’s "doin' good."
How many times would any of us say we were grateful for prison, thankful that it was the right place to be at the right time?
When I was sharing this with my friend, Gary, he pointed out that Biblically, Joseph, while spending years in prison, after having been abandoned by family, ruined, abused, was, in reality, being prepared by God to handle the crisis that was headed for that region of the world.
I am looking forward to seeing how God will use Curtis, for decades filled with what we would call "weakness", to help in the crises Omaha, and other locations, may face.
Curtis’ largest concern: his son is living Curtis' drug life. The beat goes on.
We will grow stronger as we visit the Carnival blog