Wednesday night was cold and rainy. The wind was fiercely blowing but we had a job to do. The four of us, John, Terri, Robin and Prissy had volunteered with a local group-In His Name-to help count the homeless in our area. We were armed and ready with warm soup and samwiches (my nickname), a book bag filled with a blanket and hygiene items and a two page government survey. Our one job was to count and report. Little did we know what we would encounter.
It had gotten dark when someone in our car spotted her at the gas station. She had a blanket over her head and she was crouched down by the trash can. Excited, we whipped the car around headed and toward the EnMark. We were happy that we had found a homeless person!
Tears flowing from her eyes and trembling from the cold, she greeted us with a half smile. We told her that we had brought her food and a blanket. She sobbed even more. I could tell she was embarrassed but hungry. She had been living a life that she was not used to living. In fact, she told us that she had been doing this for four months because her boyfriend had kicked her and her adult son out of his house. It was all that I could do to not cry myself. I asked her where she would be sleeping tonight? She told me that she and her son had a tent and they would camp in the woods somewhere. My heart broke as I heard those words. All of her life she had been living in a warm house. With heat to keep her warm and a roof to keep her dry. Now she was walking the streets living the unimaginable. How could this be?
What had she done to deserve this. She was meek and mild mannered. She was a regular person. Her name was Chrissy. It couldn’t have been her fault. Why had God allowed this to happen.
Still weeping, she allowed me to hold her hand while we prayed and gathered around her. I asked God to give her courage and strength. I asked God to keep her safe tonight and to give her hope for tomorrow. I asked God to Bless her…hoping that He would hear my pleas. After we prayed, I reassured her that there would be better days. And that God had promised a better life. “Just hang in there a little longer”, I said. Cling to his promises. As though it was as simple as that.
I am not sure that we made a difference in her life. But she definitely changed our hearts. There are so many people hurting on our streets tonight. Sometimes they make their own trouble, and sometimes trouble finds them. Some of them are born to roam the streets in utter despair and others are there for the moment. God has given us these people so that we can love on them. So that we can show them that there is hope for the hopeless. So that we can shower them with love so that they can grow out of the gutter. These people do matter-they matter to HIM.
As we were leaving, I could hardly breath. I couldn’t leave her like this. Why couldn’t I do more for her. Why couldn’t I help everyone that needed help. Finally as we were leaving, I told that I loved her and God did too! As I walked away, I wished that I could have done more.
What great love the Father has lavished upon us. He gave us His son Jesus who came for the poor, the broken and the destitute. Shouldn’t we love a little more? Help those who have fallen? Encourage those who are down on their luck?
Next time when you are face to face with someone who is down and out, Show them that you love them and tell them about Jesus. He loves them too!
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40