One thing that has been undeniable, even in just the past seven days, is the working of the Holy Spirit. I train, work, and room with interns for not only HOPE61 but other OMS departments also. I am sure I will be giving you many stories over the next two months…probably similar to what happened Saturday.
Saturday afternoon Chelsey (my temporary roomie), Becca (Houghton friend), Nathan (Houghton friend), and I explored downtown Indianapolis. We got coffee and strolled sidewalked trails in a state park. Let me just say – state park in the middle of a city? I’ve never been in such a place! Not my kind of park, but still great. The city is full of public art. That was a significant element of the park.
There were so many men and women sitting on corners, rattling paper cups, drying clothes on a bench, or just staring at the ground. We feel like God has given us an idea of how we might show love to these, our neighbors. Maybe even in this next week.
But back to the story. After nearly two hours we were winding our way back to the car when a guy asked if he could ask us a question. I thought he might want directions. We were all, “Sure!”
Jason (he gave us his name) showed us the $45 & cell phone in his hand, then started to tell us how his mom had just passed away. He was on his way home and had a car accident. He was $16.11 short of what he needed for the tow and whatnot. Jason spoke frantically, but not crazy-frantic. I’ve-heard-what-you’re-probably-going-to-say-but-I-need-to-get-this-out frantic. He said he’d had people swear at him and look at him like he’s trash.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to assume people asking for money are ripping you off. But I think all four of us wanted to help him out…but none of us seemed sure of how to start.
Then Nathan told Jason, “How about we go over here and give you some money and pray with you?”
Jason looked relieved. He looked up to the sky. “I can’t believe these babies are helping me out, no one else would help me, everyone just swearin’ at me…Aww, thank you, thank you…” We walked off to the side. “You can pray for me even if you don’t give me money, just, thank you.”
I looked Jason in the eye. “You said your mom passed?”
“Yes, she just passed—“
My eyes instantly swam with tears. (I think I’ve cried every day this first week.) “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
“Thank you. No one has even said that to me, this whole time, you’re the first person to say that. Thank you, thank you!” Jason’s eyes looked teary and God moved me forward to hug this man. Thank you, Jesus, for the chance to hug someone who needs it.
Nathan clapped Jason on the back. “Let’s pray.” The rest of us put our hands on his shoulders and prayed for him as we stood. Nathan prayed for his needs and thanked God for the opportunity to pray with one of His children. Afterwards we took out our money and we had the right amount for what Jason needed. From me, that was just $3.11.
Could Jason have ripped us off? Well in today’s world there’s always that possibility, though I’d like to add that on our way home we said we believe Jason’s story. But you know something? I am positive that Chelsey and Nathan would agree it was worth $5 each to pray and hug with someone in the name of Jesus. I know Becca would affirm it was worth $3. And I would shout from the highest place that it was worth $3.11…and even trillions more!
If there’s one thing that grows clearer as I approach my 22nd birthday, it’s the value of a single human being; born in dignity because of their Creator. One person IS worth millions, one person IS worth inconvenience for many others, one person IS worth respect and honor.
All because of the name of Jesus.