The evening landscaped our hearts like perfect steps of grace as we gathered in the shade with our homeless friends. A family is moving into their apartment next week, and we captured the hope in their voices, in their praise of God at His goodness. And we loved on their daughter, who is precious to behold.
We passed out water and bags of candy (thanks to a sweet girl) to other homeless friends, lingering with some, nearly running away from one who was having a bad day. We gave a ride to one who is seventy, a slow and kind man.
We even met a pastor, a man who served in prison, who’s been shot at and involved in drug deals; but whose redemption in Christ has sent him to the pulpit of a church.
We were wrapped in conversation with one who sits in his wheelchair. His smile will change your countenance upon meeting him. And his joy isn’t about his lack of losing his leg, but at the abundance of life he still has, and he was like a summer rain, rinsing off the dust of the day.
As the time stretched into hours, the shadows of the night fell, and across the street a man sauntered by. He came to us as we started to get into our cars to leave.
His sway indicted his drinking had already taken place for the day, and he dropped his backpack. His words scattered like a dust storm. He spoke of pieces of his life, of his broken family, and of his actions back at the age of fifteen, and those of his father.
His memories were snippets of pain, and he shared of drinking as a teen. “I was told you can’t stay here any longer. I was causing trouble. And I went to my room, and then my father’s fist would slam into my jaw tossing me into a wall.”
His memory was one I couldn’t identify with, for my father never hit me, never told me to leave, never sent me away even when I failed.
My friend’s sadness turned into a sweltering river of sadness as he sunk into the puddle of sorrow.
Then he pulled out his wallet, sliding out a blue and white card. It was one of those little scripture cards I hand out: Become all God created you to become. Psalm 139:14.
I prayed for my friend, for deliverance, for redemption, for guidance, and for salvation. Afterward, he would point to heaven with tears in his eyes. “If anyone can change me it’s God.”
Then he would sway down the road into the shadows of the night, having spent a few minutes with us.
Where the pain of his past was revealed, and sadly, it’s robbing him of today.
His tears were like that of a broken teen (he’s 45). His old wounds are still fresh. And his heart is one giant bruise of pain. His sorrow is consuming him.
I pray the Lord heals his sadness and gives him true joy and peace. And I pray, he becomes all God created him to become. That God will become the Father who holds and restores his life, and that salvation comes like a gentle wind of mercy and grace!
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14 ESV