I was getting my stuff out of my car and about to walk into work when an African American man with short dreadlocks, dancing eyes, and worn out clothes approached me. I would have guessed he was homeless, but he claimed he was not. My arms and hands were full when he ran up to me, and as a single woman I tend to be cautious whenever I am approached by random men. However, this one was different.
I saw despondency and hopelessness in his eyes and I felt the prompting of the Lord to listen.
I could hardly understand him as he spilled out his story of needing to get to Eugene, Oregon (a place I used to live) because his dad got in an accident. He said he was just $8.00 short of a bus ticket, and he had been asking people to help him all day long in the heat of the sun. I said, “I will help you.” As I reached into my purse he tried to show me his identification card (I am not sure where he was from) and some kind of printed report about his dad’s accident to prove the validity of his need for the money. I put my hand out and said, “It’s okay. I believe you.” Tears poured endlessly down his cheeks as he told me I was the first nice person he met all day. (How sad.) I handed him a 20 dollar bill and he tried to refuse, saying it was way too much and he did not have the change. I smiled and said, “No, it’s not too much. It’s okay. Take it.” He gave me a ginormous hug and almost knocked me over as he sobbed out his thanks. I held back tears and asked if he believed in God. He said he did, and God was the only source of hope and faith he had to believe that he would find the money he needed to see his dad. I told him that God wanted to bless him today, and I hoped he made it to his dad. He hugged me again, and literally sprinted to the bus stop, shouting in triumph.
I try to be generous with God has given me, and it was one of my new years goals this year. (Read that post HERE) I keep food packages in my car to give food to homeless people, and if I don’t have food I give them money. I know – there is a stigma about giving homeless people money because of the concern of them buying alcohol or drugs. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe that guy was lying to me, and his dad was not injured. There is a chance that may have been the case. However, I find that unlikely. I do not think that kind of desperation can be feigned, nor could the look of relief I saw in his eyes when I said I could help him. Regardless of whether or not he lied, that man was blessed by God today, and that is all that matters.
The purpose of this post has absolutely nothing to do with my meager attempt at generosity. The truth of the matter is that I have never lacked enough money to buy a bus ticket, or food. Things get tight for me, absolutely. I am fortunate enough to have parents who live close by, whom I often text and ask “What’s Mombly making for dinner?” I know I will never starve. One way or another, my needs always get met.
The point of this post is that God provides.
Sometimes it is through a well paying job, or supportive parents wanting to help out their struggling, college student daughter. Other times, he provides through strangers in parking lots. Today I got to be that stranger. I would have loved to talk with this guy more. I think there was a lot God would have liked to say to Him. I wanted to encourage him, and tell him that He is outrageously loved by a kind-hearted Father; that God hears his desperate prayers; that God is intimately involved in his life. But time was of the essence, and he needed to get to his dad. Telling him in words that God loves this man was not my assignment today. Today, my assignment was to help him get where he needed to go. As I watched him run away from me, I felt confident that God would provide another person to tell him those things.