December 2013/January 2014 - Vol. 71

Captivated by the Love of Christ
by Thomas Ryan

The Lord continues to open doors I didnít even know were in front of me. A year ago (Summer of 2012), I never guessed Iíd be called to serve in Detroit, let alone be there at all. A year ago I gave the Lord the saddest excuse for a ďyesĒ as I finally decided to do a Kairos Gap year.

The Lord had to close every other door so that I could realize His calling. I have never been able to identify one spiritual life-changing event in my life until now. Not that that was the point of my Gap year, but it happened.

On August 23, 2012 my life (rooted in darkness and selfishness) came crashing down as I boarded the plane for Detroit.  As I became a resident in Detroit I was ripped out of my comfort zone and my destructive ways only to find myself captivated by the love of Christ in such a broken city. I was blindsided by the presence of the Lord in moments and places where I least expected it. There are no words to properly explain the love that radiates out of such a broken city. Itís a brokenness that can only be healed through Godís love and grace. A healing process that the Lord manifests through us. Itís so mysterious and powerful that it can only be associated with God, and thatís where I found myself this year. I was launched into an intense spiritual realm that I barely was familiar with.

As my Gap year drew to a completion, I had another spiritual quest to embrace Ė Detroit Summer Outreach.  I inevitably experienced the Lord through the witness/faith of the broken, the rigorous household life style, and the unplanned situations that occurred on a daily basis. Thereís something to be said for living with a group of guys, getting up at six in the morning to pray together, and then going out and serving with the same brothers. Somehow this experience is amplified in the city of Detroit and itís only a two month program! Itís amazing how such an intense way of life is so life-giving. How through the pain of giving up ones desires one experiences freedom.

I couldnít have even faked this testimony last year. The Lord works in Detroit and has worked through me, a hopeless cause, all because I gave what I saw as a sad excuse for a yes. Iím still trying to articulate how the Lord has worked in my life this year, but one thing I can say is that I genuinely know that God is a necessity in life. A necessity that I need to pursue. 

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