On the drive into work this morning, I turned off the radio and asked God to speak to me. I’ve been praying to hear His voice more often because when I first heard Him a year ago, His words were crystal clear. He’s gone somewhat silent since then, and I’ve had trouble determining what thoughts are His and which are mine. I drove for a few miles – – maybe five or 10 minutes – – and didn’t hear anything, so I turned my radio back on and kept driving.
After a few minutes I started to feel this tightness around the middle of my body, and then I realized it felt like something pulling me through the interstate traffic toward downtown. God had a rope around me and was leading me down His path whether I wanted to go or not.
This week, I haven’t been bringing food to work with me to feed the homeless because I noticed their camp in the park near my office was gone. But nevertheless today, I found my friend Bill next to his bench again. He was lying on the grass partly covered in a torn comforter. I gave him a bag of sandwiches my oldest daughter made last night as an afterthought and a bag of bottled waters. He cracked one of the waters open immediately and took a sip. He told me he had trouble sleeping last night — even closing his eyes.
“I don’t know if it’s the heat or what,” he told me.
I knelt and talked to him for about 20 minutes. I asked him if he liked the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches I’ve been bringing, to which he replied, “They’re ok, I guess.”
Last time I spoke with him he mentioned going to church when he was a kid, so I mentioned my church and that a few high school students from our youth group want to develop a program to feed the homeless downtown.
“How big is your church?” he asked.
I made my best guesstimate – a large number that made a deep impression on him. He began to tell me about a Nazarene church he went to with a friend when he was in elementary school.
“I used to love Sunday school,” he said.
He told me the church did little outreach beyond a weekly “business man’s” meeting in which they talked about expanding the church most of the time, and only brought the meetings to a close with a few bible verses.
“Doesn’t sound like much of a church,” I said.
I told Bill the story of how I finally surrendered to the Lord – the G-rated version … because I was running late for work – and I told him once you hear God’s voice, you have no other choice but to be a Christian. I told him the next time I visited, I would bring the high school students with me.
“This might sound crazy, but we’re going to bring you a bible too. At least that way you will have something to read.”
“The New Testament would be nice,” he said.
In that moment, I saw Bill in a different way. He was no longer a slumped over man – almost too ashamed above a hush. He wasn’t just sitting there, breathing … with no understanding or deeper appreciation for the miracle of the air he was taking in. He was something different, altogether. He perked up and we had a conversation about the abolition of slavery, of all things, and the chaos with the South Carolina church shooting and the slaughtering of innocent Christians. Bill, I found, is a highly intelligent, sensitive man.
Obviously, I could take care of Bill and bring him a free bible from our church – or buy him a nice copy of the New Testament – but I thought I would make the offer to you. If you want to give Bill a nice bible, a gift he won’t forget, send me a private message on Facebook. I can guarantee it will change him … and you, too.