One day I was on the street in Mozambique, chatting with homeless friends and hugging a cheeky little teenager. He was an orphan with nowhere to go, so I invited him to come live with us. If love looks like something, then we can’t just say, “Bless you, go and be well fed.” Love has to be expressed practically.
We took him home, and he was a real rascal. He would constantly steal things from our house. He would torment and harass our visitors. He would run away. But I continued to love him. One day I was in a very dangerous bush area among an unreached tribe, ministering with a small group of people. It wasn’t going well.
The people were really angry, and they began shaking my Land Rover and smashing our sound system speakers. They started picking up rocks to stone us, and a group of men came over to me to beat me up. While this was happening, this kid heard God speak to him, “Go to Mama Ida right now.”
He didn’t have a truck, but he managed to get a lift from a truck driver and somehow got himself to where I was just as I was being surrounded by the angry men who were ready to beat me or maybe kill me. This young man, who could never understand he was my son, who showed no sign of responding to love, ran to my rescue.
He was hopelessly outnumbered, and this group of men beat him and beat him. All the while he yelled at me, “Mama, get in the truck! Go, go!”
Eventually, the police came, and we were all able to get away. My son was badly beaten. Then he said something that left me completely undone: “I’m so happy I was able to be beaten in your place. I’m so happy I could suffer for Jesus.” Words can’t express, even now, how I felt at that moment.
This is what happens when God’s radical love is poured out, day after day.
A miracle of transformation takes place, even if we don’t see it at first.