The other day, on my way to the store I noticed a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. Normally I wouldn’t have paid much attention to him, but this day was different. There was something about the way he sat there – staring at the ground – that grab my heart and moved me in a special way. When I walked past, he didn’t bother to look up; he just sat there deep in thought with his gaze fixed on the ground. As I entered the store a wave of thoughts went through my mind: What was his story? What was he thinking about, and how did he end up here? Did he have any family; was there anyone that knew him; anyone that truly cared?
When I came out of the store I got back into my car but something wouldn’t allow me to leave. I sat for a while and watched as the wind blew through his hair. I didn’t know if I should go over and offer him money or give him a word of encouragement. All I could really think to do in that moment was pray, so I did:
“God, there is nothing too hard for you. Even at this point in his life you are still able to show up and turn it around for his good. Please show him that you still care.”
While I was praying, a man walked over and offered him some money, but he shook his head no. My heart sank. Not because he didn’t take the money, but because I know what it feels like to be at the point of giving up. To feel so lost and alone that nothing anyone said or did could help.
“God fill his heart with a peace that surpasses all understanding,” was my silent prayer.
Seconds later, a lady came out of the store and offered him money too. Again, he turned it down. She started off but turned back and offered him her soda – still no deal. She said a few words and walked away with her head down.
Soon after that an elderly lady walked up and gave it another shot…Suddenly I begin to realize that God WAS there! Right in the midst of it all, he was using each one of us to show this lowly guy that he indeed still cared. The homeless guy didn’t know that I was a few feet away interceding on his behalf, but God did.
“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” – Hebrew 13:5
How many times in life do we find ourselves in this type of situation, where we get so caught up in the noise of the storm that we fail to recognize the movement of God in the rain? But water brings forth growth…if you allow it.
That day I was inspired to not only keep lifted in prayer a person whom I have walked past many times but never really seen, but to never lose the heart of compassion that Jesus displayed. This guy is no different from the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the woman with the issue of blood, or any one of us who once was lost and now has been found by God’s love.
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must love one another.” – John 13:34
As Christians, let’s be mindful not to just recite the words: what would Jesus do, but actually go out and do what Jesus did. Show loving kindness to those who need it the most, and sow a seed that will take root and spring forth in due season.