You see, we drove past a man in a wheelchair. The wind was bitterly cold and the raindrops were mean. My heart dropped from it's high straight down into my stomach. The few seconds of driving past him as if we both didn't notice him felt like hours. My heart dropped more and more the farther we drove. It hurt. And it should have. James and I both looked at one another, and he turned around. Both of us were really unsure of what we were going to do, but we knew we couldn't just pass him on our way to the warmth of our bed and the comfort of a full stomach.
He was sick. More than just physically. Though his body categorised him as a man, his mind clearly deamed him a child. At the same time the constant jitter caused by parkinson's disease made the situation even worse. He kept reminding us that his parents didn't want him. He was left here on the streets to fend for himself. He was born with physical limitations that left him in a wheelchair. Abandoned. Sick. Hurt. Alone.
We went back to our flats. I made soup and James got together clothing. One of the most humbling moments of my life happened last week. He couldn't feed himself because of the continual shaking, so I fed him. Like a child. With my hands. He couldn't put his clothing on himself. So I pulled a hoodie over his head. I put his arms through the sleeves and tucked his hands in the pockets, trying to keep him as warm as possible. He kept looking up at me, calling me mommy. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to react. I honestly wanted to run away from the pain and deep hurt of the reality that this man lived this life.
But Christ didn't run away from me when I was sick, and fatherless, and abandoned, and lost.
This gospel that the youth were clinging to and starting to grasp, it changes us. Sometimes I think I've got it all figured out. And then God changes me, and reveals more of Himself to my self-absorbed heart. The same thing is happening within people all around me, and I love it. I love the way He works.
The world tells us to cling to material wealth, and safety, and to focus on tomorrow rather than the day before us. Jesus encourages us to trust Him daily for our protection and provision, to focus on His will for this day, and to seek first His kingdom above all else. I see this practically as a friend makes the difficult choice to wrecklessly abandon the “things” in life that falsely promise satisfaction and success, and even normalcy, for the purpose of those in the streets knowing Him. I love it! He has purposefully decided to live on the streets, among the least of these, for the sake of them knowing Christ. He doesn't have a home to go to at the end of a difficult day. He has the contents of a backpack with him, and that is it. He has literally counted all things as loss compared to knowing Christ and partaking in His sufferings.
Christ came to us. Jesus was seated next to God, in perfect fellowship within the Trinity. Yet He was obedient to the will of His Father and took on the form of man, becoming flesh, living and breathing, and intentionally speaking, healing, providing, teaching, and much much more for us. He accepted, willingly, the sin of the universe – every single sin that had ever been committed by every single human being that had, and was, and would walk the earth. He took that upon Himself, nailing it brutally to the cross as His body was stretched out for the world to see. He sought us. He stopped, and bent low to us, to bring us back to the Father and restore our brokenness.
This is the gospel, and it changes us.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry, and provide the poor wandered with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness wil go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I....and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:6-9, 10
I'm not saying that we must all go out and sell all of our possessions to serve God. But I know that God wants and desires us to focus on Him. He wants us to be in a state of understanding of the gospel, of His love, of the way He sought us out. How do we not want to spend ourselves on behalf of those who don't know Him? We should want to bend low and do everything in our power for others to know the gospel and the love of Jesus.
Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the leart of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Matthew 25: 34-36, 40
Last week, I saw Jesus in the streets.