I was stunned. “What do you mean?”
“My wife left me, my kids won’t talk to me, I lost my job, I’m on disability...” he paused. “ I have nothing.” I could hear the pain in his voice. I prayed that God would tell me what to say.
“Sometimes God lets us walk in darkness so we see that we need his light. He doesn’t hate you. He wants you to see that you need him. He loves you sincerely and you are incredibly valuable to him.” I continued to poor the Love of God into him and encourage him. Telling him that there IS hope and it’s in Jesus. He started to cry and asked if I would pray for him. I prayed with him and he got out of the car.
I sat there slightly bewildered by the past two hours. I was reminded of a story I read once.
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I don’t remember the names of the family in the park or what church they went to. But, I remember the name of the homeless man, I remember his story, and I remember the powerful encounter with God that we both had in my car that day. There is something about getting on your knees with tax collectors that changes you. I remember thinking that if the only reason God had me start Citywide was so that it would be canceled and I would be in the park that day to Love that one homeless guy, it was worth it. What God did that day blew me away. It reminds me of a quote by Clive Staples Lewis, “What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are.” So a question arises: Where are you? Who are you? Are you standing or on your knees? In regards to the poor, I encourage you to get involved. Letting people into our lives who need God’s Love helps us stay grounded and sane. So I implore you, make time for sanity.