He’s just trying to do what he knows he should do. Find a job. Provide for his family. Be responsible.
The problem is that he lost everything. He was living in the woods in a tent and trying to go to job interviews on a city bus. He sent his wife and kids to another town to live with relatives until he could figure it all out. His eyes were bright and his smile was easy, but he looked like a man living on the street.
“You have clothes?” he asked.
“I do! Let me get you registered.”
He handed me a card with his photo on it. It was from a local men’s shelter.
“That’s the only ID I have. Everything was stolen from the woods. I left my things there hoping they’d be safe, but when I came back from getting a little food my things were gone.”
“Well, at least now you don’t have to be in the woods. I am so glad you are at the shelter. We’ve had a cold winter.” I tried to sound all “bright side” but I knew this was so hard.
He had a friend with him and as they began to shop I noticed his friend was picking things that were more dressy. Dress pants, a tie, dress shoes. He brought them to me.
“This is for church. I have not been in a long time,” he said.
The man from the woods, “Man, I am getting something warm! What I have on is what I own. That’s it! It was all taken away. Maybe I can come another time and get things for church.”
I ask if they need toiletries and they both nod “yes'”. It is hard to admit that once you had a home, work and family all going in the same direction, but now you are asking for soap and toothpaste because you have nothing with which to buy those things.
He asked me if I had any bus passes. “You know? If you guys had passes then maybe we could use them to go to interviews. I hate this! I don’t want to live like this, and it’s hard to get a job when you can’t even get to the interview. It’s hard to trust that things will improve when it feels like you can’t even get the ball rolling.”
When things get this hard… when life just seems to spiral more and more downward.. when the breath that you breathe and the sun coming up don’t feel like a blessings anymore because it means you HAVE to face another day… how do you trust?
Before they left I asked if they needed Bibles.
“You can give me one?” he asked. His eyes a little brighter.
“Yes, I have two! One for each of you.”
They take them. I encourage them to read them and I tell them that though things are hard today the Lord DOES have a plan for them. While I may not have a bus pass or a job to offer I do know that Jesus is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine and that they can’t lose heart.
What I face today is NOTHING like what they may face today. It’s true that not everything in my life is perfect, and we live with uncertainties like anyone else. So why do I struggle to trust? IF I am a true follower of Christ and I am taking Him at His word why is TRUSTING Him so hard?
God’s Word says in Psalm 9:10, “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
He has NEVER forsaken us. NEVER. So when we say we don’t trust that the Lord will carry us through the trial then we are essentially calling Him a liar. Ok, maybe we don’t SAY it. But in our hearts we don’t lean into it. We don’t take whatever we carry and lean it on Christ and walk away trusting that He will, indeed, use our concerns and our worries as blessings in our lives somehow.
No trial that comes can come without first being sifted through His mighty hand. His love for us is so deep that we can’t even fathom HOW he might use difficulties to pull us toward him, but He does. He is the gatekeeper to our souls and He wants us to realize that no matter what comes our way He is the same God with the same power that parted the Red Sea and brought a dead man to life.
As they walked out the door they both smiled at me. “Thanks, ma’am.”
It was my pleasure, but more than that, seeing a man just holding God’s Word and it lighting up his face was such a blessing to me and it gave ME the encouragement to trust God more with every passing day.