I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. His name is John.

John is a hard worker, and an image conscious man. He wears thumb rings, earrings, and has the “right” tattoos in the “right” places. He says all the right things, will do anything for anyone so he won’t be seen as selfish, and seems to be rigidly aware of how he “appears” at any moment in time.

John was living with an ex-girlfriend named Sheryl who has some problems; the biggest problem being that every time she breaks up with him, her problem is that he isn’t “with” her. She doesn’t seem to understand that when a woman breaks up with a man, naturally, the man is no longer “with” her.

One night, John brought home a new girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend went ballistic, and decided to move upstairs, into an empty apartment she can’t afford on her own. John hadn’t planned on sleeping with this new girlfriend, he was only stopping at home to pick up a few things for a brief stay at his new squeeze’s house. His new girlfriend had to listen to the shouting and insults flying everywhere; I cannot imagine this made a real big impression on her.

John decided it was finally over between he and Sheryl. Several times now, she had broken up with him, only to get back together with him after a period of time away. This most recent time, he had actually moved all the way from Illinois to Wisconsin, at the request of his now ex-girlfriend. It worked no better this time than it had the previous times, all occurring over a period of eight years.

Johnfeels lost without her, even with a new girlfriend, and even as he knows he can never go back to Sheryl.

John doesn’t know Jesus, he can’t, because he is too busy trying to look good. Every moment is a chance to impress, and he rarely misses out on an opportunity to look like an all-around nice guy. He is very agreeable, and will discuss anything with anyone who talks with him. He is a well-rounded individual, exactly the kind of person I would expect America to produce.

But there is this place inside of John that once revealed itself to me. It is the questioning place, the crying place, the lonely place, the place John lets no one see, if he can help it. It is the place John has very rarely seen himself. It is the empty place, the place where fear reigns, and loneliness lives. Going through what he is going through, John cannot hide from this place, or in this place anymore.

He bared his soul to me, and I listened. As I listened, I could easily pick and choose what to change about his life that would ease the pain, and remove the fear. But that isn’t what I was there for. I was there to listen, and so I did.

John isn’t a rare guy. Do you know anyone like John? Of course you do. You probably know hundreds of people just like him.

John doesn’t know Jesus, and it’s not because no one ever told him about Jesus. It’s because the "Johns" of this world have never, ever seen Jesus in us.

Lord, I cannot do this on my own, You know it. I cannot shine Jesus through this flesh by human willpower. I can put on a show, but somehow, I don’t think that’s what is best for this situation. I don’t have time to “fix” John’s sins. He doesn’t have time, he’s losing hope, and if his hope finally depends on how I act, then he has no hope whatsoever.

So I’m asking You to do something. I don’t know what, I just know You have to do something, or John is sunk. If You have to use me, then make Your power to live in my veins, and make Your wisdom to be self-controlling, with a mind of its own, so that I do not try to control it myself. I am at the end of myself with John, it’s up to You now.

I don’t know how to do anything but hear with my ears, and what I hear is hopelessness. This nation breeds hopelessness, Lord, in quantities the likes of which are impossible to measure, and hard to match from any other time. John is hopeless. Can’t you give him a little, despite what he does “wrong”? For me? Your beloved child? Abba? You do it for me every day. For even one day, let him have my share. I know what it is I am asking, and although I am frightened to ask it, I am asking it anyway. Please Abba, give Him mine, because I have nothing else to give.

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