God gives us divine appointments. Moments we don’t realize have been orchestrated in the heavens long before they ever happen. I want to tell you one man’s story about Jesus and the homeless…
I struggled with myself on whether to write this post or not. But I think it will open your eyes to people on the streets and the sad situations they have experienced to get to this point in their life.
My husband Vance and I were on vacation in South Beach Miami. We had just finished our dinner at Rustico Pizzeria and walked the half mile towards our hotel.
“Hi, how are you?” a voice came from the sidewalk.
I turned and looked down to see a medium-sized man with long brown hair sitting against the walls of a store.
I’m good, how are you doing?” I smiled at him.
“Well, I would be better, but you know what I need? I don’t need money, I just need food. Would you be able to buy me something to eat?”
” Yes!” I said to him. My mother had fed the poor every chance she had, I had grown up being taught to look past the exterior and see the soul.
Vance and I walked two doors down to a bakery and picked him up some supper. Back we went to drop off the food.
The street man thanked me. I asked him how he was REALLY doing?
He opened up Pandora’s box and told me his life story. I understand people on the streets can make up all sorts of pipe-dream stories, but somehow I believed his.
His name is Keith (I’m leaving out his last name). He was born in 1970. He had been a cosmetologist for a few years, and then he had become a chef and worked in five-star restaurants. One day his mind snapped. Keith said he began to hear voices and they had taken over his life. He could no longer live without a paranoia that he carried with him and condemning voices that hounded him constantly.
Keith was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
He was approved for disability and receives $725/month, Keith had been on the streets for many years, but just recently found a place for the needy to stay, but his cheque only covers the rent. He begs on the streets of Miami for food and necessities. There are beggars here on every corner. The situation is very sad.
I asked him about his family, and the floodgates opened.
It took him a while to collect himself. He said he didn’t think his family would want to see him. I assured him that may not be true, maybe they were also looking for him. He hadn’t seen his parents or siblings in over twenty years. Keith looked very serious, his lip trembled, and his voice became quiet.
“I don’t even know if my father is still alive. I hope he is.”
There seemed to be an ocean of regret washing up on a lonely shore.
I asked him if he knew their phone numbers, could I contact them for him? But Keith had no clue where they lived since it had been many years since he saw them. He gave me his sister’ name, and I asked to take his photo so I could send it to his sister if I were able to contact her on Facebook. I was worried she might think I was a stalker. The photo would help me prove I was telling the truth.
He agreed to the photo, which I never would have used on social media unless he wanted me to. But when he saw himself in my camera, he was mortified. So I had no photo. He was actually a pleasant looking man.
Keith shared how life had become unbearable. He had been jailed in the past year with many other homeless people when they were banned from entering certain parts of Miami. The city doesn’t want homeless people and beggars in particular areas of its city, and if they are caught there, they go to jail.
(If you’d like to visit a blog site for the homeless and their stories, please click here: PovNet)
Keith cried many times during our conversation.
Then I turned to him and told him God loved him and cared about his situation. “But why is God letting all this happen to me?”
“This is life happening to you, not God letting bad things to happen to you.” We talked a bit more, and I said to him, “God fed you supper tonight, he really does care about you.” His face lit up with that thought, and he smiled and sighed.
I told him I would pray he got his mind back, “That’s a good prayer, I really like that prayer!” he said.
We hugged, and he thanked me.
I went back to my hotel room and contacted his sister on Facebook. What a lovely woman she was. She shared how Keith’s life of drugs and alcohol had led him to the streets. She sent me photos of him as a darling, sweet, little boy and one of him doing someone’s hair when he was a cosmetologist.
Keith had given me a phone number to give his sister, that I passed along to her. She said she was going to visit her dad in hospice that day and she and her father were going to call Keith. Her dad was dying and had a desire to have his relationship with Keith restored before he passed away.
Keith’s sister talked about how much their family loved him, but his addictions had caused everyone great pain. She hoped Keith was ready for help because the family wanted to help him.
God was ready to give Keith a new life if he was willing to get help.
Many times I have lacked the courage to talk to someone who looked unkempt, I’m not sure what I’m scared of, I usually have my six-foot-three husband with me. But somehow my heart knew I was supposed to stop and talk to this person today.
But it wasn’t me who sat and talked to Keith. There are times in a person’s life that you know God walked your feet over to someone because he needed to talk to them, to serve them, to love them.
God has time for people, and no one goes unnoticed by him. He only asks that we help him to reach those in need, that we become his hands and feet. I haven’t always obeyed God’s voice, there have been times that I lacked the courage and regretted it later.
I have my own regrets.
But Keith had a kind and trusting face that drew me in. Jesus sat with Keith, I was just a vessel he wanted to use to reach him. He cared about a man who felt unloved, dirty and worthless.
We can judge people on the streets and think they are bums. But if we get a little closer we will see a hurting human being, who needs a little love.
The next time you walk past a person in need, listen to the quiet voice that says, ‘Say hello to them.’ Jesus may desire to spend some time with that person and wants you to do the walking and talking…
and to show them how much God loves them💗
If you enjoyed this post click here to read Don’s story, who was also a homeless man: When Angels Appear at Cafe’s