Friday, June 14, 2013

Lessons from the homeless

Sometimes those of us who have grown up hearing all of our lives that the Lord has a plan for our lives, lose the real weight that that ‘truth’ carries. We hear that truth and it only hits us like a nonchalant phrase, like any other thing we might hear in the day, like saying “nice afternoon”. 

Last weekend, a man walked up to our car while we were doing street ministry. He grabbed the arm of my husband and rested his face against it and began to sob.... he wept. He told us how he had lost everything in his life because of alcohol. He told us his heartbreaking life story. He told us how many times he had tried to kill himself but each time restrained from doing so out of fear. I pointed out to him that that fear was the Holy Spirit, the spirit of life, stopping Him. I told him that God had a plan for his life and that God loved him.... as I spoke those words, his fixed his eyes on mine. He said, "It was you. It was your voice I heard when I was trying to kill myself that told me to stop". I wanted to giggle. How sweet, but oh so wrong. When we don't know the "voice of truth", how can we identify it when it speaks to us? The Lord was speaking to that man but because no one had ever told him those words before, he was confused. 

I have learned so many things from the people on the streets. First a strong confirmation that satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is blatantly obvious after just one encounter with these guys. Secondly, that these people need not be treated as modern day lepers, but as broken and desperate individuals in need of a Savior. 
Although everything they may say could be a lie, at least they are looking- they realize that they are desperate and are painfully aware that their only hope lies in God.... they are painfully aware of the fact that they are completely desperate and NOTHING without the Lord.. a truth that we are all at the mercy of but few of us realize.... 
Might they have one advantage over us? Although many of us may neglect, they are constantly reminded that we can not go one day, take one step, have one victory, overcome, or have the least bit of TRUE HOPE without the Lord. They realize their "rock bottom" because it is such a physically obvious reality... how much scarier when we have "rock bottoms" that aren't so obvious and run the risk of going unnoticed... such as the spiritual rock bottoms where we drift away from the Lord, our hope. 

Why are they so moved by such a simple word from God? Perhaps because they are desperately hungry.... longing.... Let us all have that same hunger to hear from the Lord. Let us not grow self-sufficient, or too independent.. or so enamored by the American dream of success that we forget that each and every success comes from the Lord. Let us be AWARE of His hand in our life... and our DAILY need for Him. 

The man we met on the streets last weekend broke my heart in half. As I listened to him weep, I felt not the slightest bit of judgment, but just complete brokenness for him... I can't imagine how deeply the Lord hurts for this man while he watches his suffer. I can imagine how deeply the Lord longs for this man, and knows how his life could be... and how desperately He desires to set him free. 

(The following day this man called Carlos and I... he was clean and ready to start a new life. He was done. And he was serious. We are in the process of helping him find a christian rehabilitation center.) 

(Below: a different friend from the street)