A Ministry of Persons, Not “Results”

by NightShift

“I tried to imagine what it’s like in his shoes.” By Sandy Phillipps 8242550882_399c4578c8People sometimes ask me what results we are seeing on the streets. As if we would give up and move on if we see no change in a person growing stronger in taking responsibility for themselves. The longer I am around, the more I understand God in our lives. Last time out on the street we were well into our prayer circle when a street friend whom I had never seen before, came into the parking lot and threw his bicycle forcefully to the ground almost hitting someone in the circle. At first I thought, Danger! but then I realized the man was so caught in the drug addiction and prison in his body, he was unaware of his surroundings. Later, as everyone was just chatting and milling about, I went and sat next to him. His hair long, head bent over and darkness falling made it impossible to see his face, his eyes. I could not read him at all as far as a response to see if he wanted me there. What to talk about? I am still floundering with what to talk about. I asked if had had dinner. He said, No. Have a place around here? No. I plucked up my courage to see if he would let me into his life. I tried to imagine what it’s like in his shoes. He told me he moves around from place to place, finding a place to sleep out in the bush, wherever he can find. I commented he must have a good hiding spot for his bike. He said, “Heck, no! Anyone that wants it just takes; I don’t have a hiding spot!” I felt the reality of not being able to hold on to anything dear to you. He then began to weep and told me his wife had died … he told me her name. I asked if he had a picture of her and he said, No, they take it all. “You have a picture of her in your heart,” I replied. Then I asked him if I could pray for him, his face buried in his hands as he wept and wept. I asked him if he’d ever felt God’s love. I went to get him some napkins to wipe the flood of tears. I’d never seen such a pool of wet on the ground as was coming from Henry, it just poured out of him.

“I could not tell if he was open to prayer until I began … his hand shot out, deformed and shaking as he showed his openness to prayer. All he could do was cry as I took his hand and prayed for him.”

That is why I love what I do at NightShift. I understand more of God’s heart to love us where we are at. Even if the person is unable or unwilling to take the help and structure of what our system and culture has to offer people, if they have fallen through the cracks and are full of pain, it does not make them less of a human being, less worthy of God’s unconditional love. I am there to get a napkin for his tears, to hear his pain and ask him if he’d like to feel God’s love. I can love a fellow human and share what–and Who–I know. _______________ Image credit: Ghita Katz Olsen  

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