Dear God, Are you still here?
He was the first person to welcome my husband and me to the neighborhood when we moved here two months ago, and he has remained a unique and persistent presence ever since. He’s probably in his forties, but looks much older (or younger, depending on the day). He can often be seen riding his bicycle up and down the street, collecting aluminum cans or preaching to anyone who will listen. They can say many things about him (and they do), but no one can deny that the Minister loves Jesus.
Recently- I’m not sure when, exactly- he was forced to leave his house. He has been sitting out in the front yard ever since, his only possessions filling up three grocery bags. I have gathered from my conversations with him that he has been sleeping in his garage. It’s a cold April, and as I watch him from my window, feelings of empathy emerge in my heart. He must be miserable at night.
My husband and I have been so blessed. We keep praying and trusting, and God keeps faithfully providing. We don’t have much, but it’s more than enough. More than enough to share.
I went to the closet to grab a blanket for the Minister, but then I hesitated for just a moment. What if friends come to visit? What if our heater breaks? This is our warmest blanket… Do I just give it away? Then came the familiar voice of my Jesus: You keep taking care of them, My love. I will take care of you. Yes, Lord.
I walked outside to give my friend the Minister a blanket. He thanked me, and I explained to him somewhat sheepishly that we are told to love every person as if they were Jesus Himself. He nodded slowly in agreement. Then he said without even a hint judgment in his voice that if he were really Jesus, I would have taken him in. If he were really Jesus, I would have fallen at his feet in amazement and asked him what took him so long. That’s what I would do if he were really Jesus sitting out here in the cold. I knew that he was right. I should have been offering him so much more. I should have been loving him, my neighbor, as I love myself. And yet all I had was a blanket. A blanket that only moments before had seemed almost too much to part with. He thanked me again with a smile and praised God for His many gifts.
A few days later, as I sat at my Father’s feet, praying, reading, and listening, I asked the Lord to give me a miracle that day. My joy in Him was just too much- I wanted to see Him on display all around me, to see Him at work here in the world. So I asked for a miracle (Please, Lord, that is if You don’t mind). His response to me was this: My miracles are all around you, little one. See them. Ask for them. Believe in them as small reminders of Me. Just as a child is blessed by reminders of her father around the house while he is at work- a newspaper left on the table, a shirt slung over a chair- in this same way, see My miracles all around you. Smile and be blessed by these reminders of My presence, these assurances that your Father is indeed at work.
Later that day, I received a call from a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked for a bit, caught up on life, and discussed when she would be in town next. Before hanging up, there was one last thing she had almost forgotten- she was learning how to quilt and had decided to make me a blanket. It should be done soon. Praise God who is always moving and always at work. Praise God who is faithful, even when we offer so little in return.
Jordan, 23, Rockford, IL