Photo Credit: Peggy James
I like it when people give me the heads up that they’re visiting our church when I greet them in the lobby. Leslie told me she came from another city, 75 miles away. She seemed nervous as we talked and stepped back outside for fresh air and a smoke.
The praise & worship started and Leslie slid into my row and sat next to me.
During the handshake break, she leaned in close and divulged through strong tobacco breath that she is homeless and living in the park. I grabbed both her hands and reassured her she looked lovely because she did. Her makeup in place, she sported clean clothes and a cute hairdo.
Still holding her hands tight, I promised to protect her back with my prayers in the coming week. Excited, she responded: “Oh, how I love this church!” She continued: “I’m fleeing from an abusive man. I’m a woman in flight.”
I wished I had some cash on me. Tom took me out for breakfast that morning and decided at the last minute to pay in cash. He wiped me out at Denny’s.
Just between you and me, I felt like Peter and John on the temple steps telling the handicapped person that I have nothing to give you but my prayers but in the Name of Jesus stand up and walk.
Leslie is the heroin of my story today because she worshiped God with a transparent, willing heart, desperately needing Him… and us. She could easily have hid behind a mask and no one would be the wiser.
How many of us attend church without letting the Lord or anybody else know the pain we carry?
The Body of Christ is a great place to hang out when you’re desperate. We’re family and we’re imperfect. We understand each other’s brokenness because He touched us. We’re investors, investing in lives not in stocks that we can’t take with us to our eternal mansions. Like Peter and John, we believe in miracles, signs and wonders.
I learned that a few brothers from the food pantry visited Leslie in the park bringing edibles and counsel. They invited her to the pantry for a week’s supply and I heard she volunteered one day, working hard and serving others.
Jesus is still doing it. He’s feeding the poor and mending shattered lives. He specializes in rescuing those in flight.
Whatever we are fleeing from…we can be sure of one thing…He’s always there as a refuge for us and, hopefully, so are we…for one another!
Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters.
Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith?
Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?