Today, I was mailing a package and saw a homeless woman sitting outside the door of the Post Office. In years past, before I became obedient to the Lord, homeless people made me so uncomfortable. I just didn’t know what to do with them. I gave them money but would scurry away as quickly as possible. But as I mature in my relationship with Jesus and God and as I read more and more of the Bible, I feel myself changing. As I walked up to this woman, I knew that I had no money- not even a quarter. In years past, that alone would have embarrassed me so much that I would refuse to even ‘see’ the homeless person in front of me. I couldn’t bear to say, “I have no money,” and think they would think I was lying or something.
But, now, I don’t feel the same. These aren’t strangers or aliens. They are people. We have to remember that. People with problems. I feel and felt differently today as I walked up to her. I felt easy, as if I was approaching a friend. I paused and looked at her and said, “I’m sorry. If I had money, I would give it to you. If you are here next time, I will.” She smiled and said it was ok. I noted that she was cold. She had her hood pull over her head, she was sitting on concrete with a very little blanket on her knees (which were scrunched into her chest.) It’s not really pity that I felt as I walked away.
What I felt was the Holy Spirit stirring in me to stop. He planted the story of Peter talking to the beggar at the gate of Jerusalem. Remember when the beggar asked for money and Peter said, “Money I do not have, but what I have, I will give you freely. Stand up and walk!” What we have is better than money. We have faith in Jesus. We have hope of better days. We have a loving Father in Heaven who sees us no matter where we are crouching. We have a knowledge that this miserable life is short compared to the life of joy awaiting us. We have victory over evil already in our hands because, my Friends! , we have Jesus who is returning to this earth to end all evil, to make all things just, to end all hunger and to restore all that is broken.
I couldn’t rescue that woman. But I could sit awhile with her. And I could ask after her a bit. Never doubt the Holy Spirit when he speaks to you. I have walked by many homeless people and not felt compelled to stop. But today, God said, “Stop.” You know you’ve felt this before but thought it was guilt or uneasiness. It’s NOT! It’s the Holy Spirit telling you to do something. Right there, right then. The more you obey this Voice, the more you will understand what God wants from you. And, the more you will hear the voice of God- which, I’m telling you, is the most joy any human being could ever ask for.
I asked if she would like me to pray with her and she said,”That would be so… awesome.”
So… I did. I asked God to not be silent to her. I asked God to speak to her and let her know that she is not forgotten by him. I asked God to keep her strong and to give her hope that He would indeed deliver her. I prayed also that God would remove whatever obstacles that were keeping her from success, be they enemies, lack of job, money or addiction. I spoke to her and told her about how I was once in her shoes. But Christ delivered me. I felt rich in comparison to her and wished I could shed my blessings onto her. I still pray so.
My daughter was waiting in the car all this time so I asked if she was hungry. She preferred tacos to hamburgers.
As I was finishing my discussion and about to leave, a man aggressively walked up to us and said, “What’s going on, Babe?” His eyes shifted quickly between her and me.
I smiled at him and told him what I was doing and asked if he would like something from Taco Time too. He lied to me and said, “We’re leaving this spot. We’re trying to get some cash, ya know? We’re going to another spot, so.. you know, thanks and all but…”
I got the hint and began to leave, but I could sense that he dominated her and just wanted me to leave. My heart boiled over that she was hungry, had asked for two tacos and this man didn’t even care! He just wanted her to sit for him, alone, to collect money for him. His entire demeanor was aggressive and possessive.
Waffling at first, I determined to myself to buy those tacos! I drove to Taco Time and bought enough for both of them, lest he punish her. I drove back to the Post Office and sure enough, there she was again- sitting alone in the cold. I was so happy to see another woman talking to her in compassion! Praise God!
“Ha!” I thought. “You thought you could scare me away, but that girl is eating today!”
I jumped out of my van and whispered in her ear,
“I knew you would still be here. He just wanted me to leave, didn’t he?”
She smiled and said, “Yeah.”
I told her, “There’s enough for you both.” And I touched her cheek and left.
There is sadness and evil in the lives of people out there. I can’t help but say that it seems to be worse for women. I’m not here to bludgeon men. I love men- they are God’s beloved children too. And there are many beautiful, God loving men in the world. But.. let’s face it. So many men are cruel to women. Can we all pray for my friend today? Can we pray that this man won’t be cruel to her? Especially because I stayed and prayed with her? I would appreciate that.
Sisters and Brothers, let us obey Jesus and his commands. We have something much better than money. We have Jesus. In him is HOPE. We can tell those who are suffering that this life will pass and all the sufferings with it but there is a promise of so much more for them and for us. We can’t fix everything for people. Impossible. But let us do the little things when we can. Most of all, stop feeling so uncomfortable. Use your discernment. LISTEN to the Holy Spirit. In this way, we grow the Kingdom of Heaven. This story is just one more mustard seed. I pray to God to water it and place it in good soil. Amen.