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Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”  Proverbs 21:13

 

Today’s quote addresses the plight of the poor.  Being poor can take on a different definition depending on who you are talking to.  Some can be poor in spirit, in money, in food, or in all three.  Let me share with you my story about the drifter…

It was a warm spring day several years ago.  The day before I was to attend the funeral of a very close friend.  I was in the parking lot of a supermarket, numbly loading the trunk of my car with a few bags of groceries because, yes, I still had to eat.  Suddenly, I heard a male’s voice close behind me…too close.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” the voice said softly.

I turned to find a young man perhaps around the age of twenty standing with his hands jammed into his dingy, over-sized blue jean pockets.  His blond hair was tussled; his face was pale and dirty.  His blue eyes were clear and filled with pain.

“Yes?”  I answered cautiously, wishing he would remove himself from my immediate personal space.

“I’m new in this town and I was wondering if you could spare a few dollars?”

I looked at him as I asked, “Are you hungry?”

“Well, yeah,” he said looking down at the ground.  “The people in this city aren’t so friendly.”

“Well, that depends,” I said, “on who you ask.”

He smiled slightly, and my heart went out to him.

“Where are you from?”  I asked.

“Minnesota.  I got into a little trouble with my parents, and they kicked me out.”

“What kind of trouble?”  I knew it was drug-related.  I’ve worked with and been around drug users long enough to know the signs that always show up on an addict’s face and in their eyes, but I wanted him to tell me.

“Well,” his eyes shifted.  He kicked at some imaginary piece of debris on the ground.

“Was it drugs?”  I asked, finally rescuing him from a difficult confession.

He nodded.

I let him know that his life did not have to be the way it was.  I told him that God did not intend for him to live the way he had been living – hooked on drugs, and drifting from one city to another.  I told him that the death of my friend whose funeral I would be attending the next day was indirectly related to drug use.

His eyes met mine, and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

I believed him.

“There is a better way,” I said looking directly at him.  “If you surrender yourself to Jesus, He can deliver you.”

He stood nodding his head and listening.

A few minutes later, I asked him what he would like to eat.  There was a McDonald’s, Burger King, and a KFC restaurant all within a six-block radius.

He was trying to be polite.  “I guess a burger will be fine.”

“The only thing you want is a burger?”  I asked.  “You don’t want two?”

He raised his eyebrows.  “Well, sure, I guess if you don’t mind.”

“Would you like some fries with that, too?”

Again, he raised his eyebrows.  “Sure,” he said.

We agreed that he would wait for me by a certain bench in front of a women’s clothing store while I went to get the food.

“I’ll be back as quick as I can,” I said.  “Don’t leave.”

“Okay,” he answered.

The restaurant was crowded.  Fifteen minutes later I turned off the street towards our specified meeting place.  I could see his smile before I reached the bench.  I smiled too because many times I had done this – offered to go get food – and come back to find the person gone.  He stood up as my car approached.

“I bought you a soda, too,” I said.

“Thank-you,” he said with true sincerity.

I asked him what his name was.  It was  * “Adam” – the same name as my friend whom I would see the next day for the very last time, laying still and quiet and cold.

I told him what my name was, and that I would be praying for him.

“Don’t end up like Adam,” I told him.

Earlier, I’d placed a tract that explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love into the bag of food.  I gave him the bag, and then I directed him to a men’s shelter.  He thanked me, and I drove off wishing I could have done more.  I could have.  I could have given him bus fare to the shelter, and to this day I do not know why that thought escaped me.  Maybe it was because of my own grief that semi-clouded my thinking, and prevented me from seeing this stranger all the way to safety.  I don’t know, but I often think of that young man, and wonder what has become of him.  I pray that the seed I planted took root, and has since grown.

Now, I know in this day and age it’s not safe (for a female in particular) to go around assisting strangers by herself whether they be male or female.  But, we cannot turn a blind eye nor a deaf ear on those who are in need.

Romans 8:31 tells us that “…If God be for us, who can be against us?”  So then, if we have Christ in our lives, we can use caution and common sense.  And then, we must hear the cry of the afflicted, near or far, and we must offer help.  We all have the capabilities to do so.

 

* Name changed to protect the privacy of others.

 

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