Recently I had the humble opportunity to hear one of the greatest missionaries of my lifetime speak, Sis. Bobbye Wendell. She told a heart wrenching story about a girl named Ivy Lane that she’d encountered at some point in her life. Ivy Lane was a young girl who had come to the church for help, and Sis. Wendell loved her so much. Ivy Lane disappeared and Sis. Wendell was distraught knowing she had to find her. She was able to track down the girl’s mother and went to the home one day. She knocked on the door, and a woman came out so she asked, ” Are you Ivy Lane’s mother?” She replied, ” Yes I am, and what do you want?” Sis. Wendell said, ” I just want to know where she is?” The mother with a stern voice answered, ” She isn’t here! She isn’t welcome back! She murdered her kid brothers.” Sis. Wendell said, ” Oh! I haven’t heard anything about this.” The mother goes on to say, ” She was suppose to be watching her brothers, they got into a gas can, and a match was lit. The boys both burned to death, and it’s all her fault.” Sis. Wendell with a shaky voice, ” If you ever see her again please tell her, I love her.” Sis. Wendell went on to say every where she traveled after that she wondered if she would ever see Ivy Lane again, and went on to say that there was so many Ivy Lanes lost in the world.
“He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
(John 4:3-9 KJV)
It would seem to us that Jesus took a detour on his journey to Samaria, but we know he was spirit led by divine appointment. Jesus in the spirit saw a Samaritan women’s face who needed him. Where there is a need, you can always find Jesus there. Jesus knew once he witnessed to her she would go reach her entire city with the gospel of Christ. However, what would of happened if he never would of went to the well for her that day?
I’m going to share a personal story, and not because it has anything to do with me, but everything to do with Jesus. Recently I had went to another state to see some friends. I had the privilege of going on outreach in their city knocking door to door. I had encountered a young man who looked as though life had dealt him some unfair trade offs, and you could tell he was living a miserable life. I handed him a church card. While he hung his head the entire time all I could see was a hurting soul full of shame.
I returned back home, but couldn’t forget his face nor the hurt I saw written all over his person. I returned a few weeks later with an assignment and burden from God. I would go back to tell this man about “the living water.” I had such a heavy burden, and worry filled my soul that I would never find him again. We started driving through the neighborhood trying to remember which home was his. All of a sudden we see him walk out onto the porch. I was thankful that when he saw us walking up he didn’t go back inside, but instead he stood there as if wanting to talk. We began inviting him to church, and asked for his name so we could pray for him. I told him God kept showing me his face when I would pray. I told him there was more for him, and he was special. He then hung his head down, he lit up a cigarette, and muttered the words, ” My dad was a youth pastor.” I don’t know what happened in Wade’s life, but I do know that God hasn’t forgotten, sees, and still loves him. By divine appointment Jesus had Wade on his agenda.
Like Sis. Wendell I now how my own Ivy Lane, it’s just his name is Wade. Now when I drive through cities I see Wade’s face everywhere. People who are so lost and broken by circumstances that have occurred in their lives. We have to reach them. I’ll say it again, we have to reach them. In the bad parts of town nobody else will go, and to the ones no one else will waste their time on. We have a commission from God to tell the world about him.
When we stand before God we will answer for the things we did, and the things we didn’t do on this earth. To have Jesus look at me in the face on Judgement Day and say, ” You didn’t reach for my lost sheep, you just didn’t do enough” would rip my heart out of my chest. Can you see them? Can you catch a vision of the hurting crying child being abused behind closed doors? The backslider laid on a couch somewhere with a needle hanging out of his arm? The college student raised by atheist parents corrupting her mind about creation? The boy being raised by two dads consumed by confusion? The girl who witnessed her mother being murdered by her father? Do you see them, and does your heart hurt for them? We ( including myself) need a heavy burden for our wicked world. We as the church know it’s the anointing that destroys the yoke.
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
(Luke 14:23 KJV)
I have faith that one day I will go back to that city, and see Wade cleaned up, dressed nice, carrying a bible, knocking doors, and reaching the lost. Ivy Lane and Wade may be lost, and others just like them are lost. However, I can promise you they aren’t forgotten.