I will call him John. John has regularly attended our church for over several months now. When he first started coming he was a quiet man. He was a friend of someones. John is homeless. At one point John got a job driving a truck back and forth across the country. He began to change. His spirits picked up. He started feeling good about himself. Even was proud that he could give a little money here and there on a Sunday morning when he was home for the weekend from driving.
John lost his job due to some health issues. He still continues to come almost every Sunday morning. From the looks of it John is at a tough place again. Sometimes he shares in church about his homelessness. Sometimes he talks about how things are tough. But John does something that makes John so amazing. He praises God every single Sunday for his love, for his church that welcomes him, and he prays for those he knows who are homeless as well. He sees it as his ministry in the way he cares for his brothers and sisters on the street.
What’s tough is that homelessness in the Antelope Valley can be a little difficult, especially when it comes to the heat and wind of the desert. There is a lot of walking to do sometimes to reach a place where one can panhandle. In the City there are options. In the desert you have to do some walking.
John shared with me before church how he wasn’t feeling good. I did notice that he wasn’t looking all that well. John talked about how it’s hard to not have water sometimes. During the worship service in church he shared during the prayer time how it’s hard not having water when he wants it or needs it. He even shared a desire of his heart to beg for enough money to buy a case of water to pass out to folks he knows in the valley who are homeless as well. You can tell from his heart that he cares about folks who are in need.
After church this past Sunday I happened to notice a couple of dear folks who were walking to their car. I went up to them and said hello and that it was good to see them. As I approached them I noticed that they had just finished talking with John. What I had learned from this particular couple was that they had a way of getting John some water. They wanted John to know and they had made arrangements to meet John during the week.
He smiled and told me after the couple was leaving, “God answers prayer.” He even went back into the church and tried to catch anyone and everyone who’d listen to make sure they knew that God answers prayer and that the God of the universe who knows what we need before we even ask is present and ready to quench our thirst and to meet us in our place of need.
John’s faith amazes me and reminds me of the importance of relying on God to provide and that in the joys and in the struggles of life that what God wants from us is our heart and a willingness to follow him even if we’ve been beaten down, stepped on, kicked, and knocked out for the count and that what matters most is how we respond to those moments that make us feel like we’re ready to give up.
Isaiah 55:1-5 “Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witness to the nations,
made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I’m doing it to you:
You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of,
and nations who’ve never heard of you
will come running to you
Because of me, your God,
because The Holy of Israel has honored you.”