I was out for a walk early mid-morning today. I had to run some errands related to the snowstorm. As is the case most mornings some of the guys who stand on Main Street hoping to get a few bucks for a cup of coffee and bagel, or secure enough to buy food for the day were out and "at work." I chatted with one; gave him a couple of dollars, and asked how much he needed for the day, and told him I'd ask the Lord to supply over his request. At first he looked confused, but then smiled with an "I didn't expect that!" smile.
I've asked today more than once on his behalf.
A half a block up standing under the Thornes' green awning was a man I met literally the second or third day I started living on Main Street. He's been on Main Street since we moved in, but he lives on the street, mostly out in the elements 24/7, 365 days of the year. He's a hardy soul with true grit and a stubborn will. I asked where he'd slept last night and he told his "usual place," (I know where it is), adding, "When I got up this morning I was Frosty the Ice Man, and it shattered off me like glass." He laughed. I was out in the storm yesterday; it was not pleasant with the low temps and the wind.
This guy is tough and ornery. He mentioned the other guys on the street have learned to stay out of his way when he's cold and wet. He hates being wet while cold. I responded, "You've trained them well." He nodded. I asked him how he was doing. He answered: "God provides, as He always does." This man talks alot about God and faith and trust. I see him often with his head buried in the Scriptures and he attends a church once a week. He said he's learned to trust Him for all his needs. God supplies. By the way, he's never asked for money from me. And he doesn't do drugs.
I asked if there was a light at the end of the tunnel with finding a place to live. He said: "God has not given me that yet. So I'll trust Him." He's told me before why he's had to be on the street for a long time. He says it was a gross injustice. Maybe so. I don't know one way of the other. I won't pry.
I told him things have been especially tough for us lately, and gave him the details. He was genuinely surprised. I think he thought we were well off or something. He reiterated with some vehemence that the key was to trust God no matter what - no matter what you lose, or go through, or have to endure.
It was the Holy Spirit. I would realize that later in the day..
I like this man a lot. He's real and feisty and fierce for God. He's one of those guys that do the tough things in life and don't quit. He's taught me survival is possible in the meanest of conditions; he shows up everyday and looks for God.
I know some of us will ask, "Why doesn't he just go get a job?" "Why doesn't he take initiative and get on with building a life?" But we don't have any idea what's so impenetrably in the way even if it's just in his head. Since we've been here he's tried to get work and it has gone nowhere; not unusual for folks living on the street. He seems a man convicted God will supply his need and God alone. I respect his resolve. I've tried to challenge it over the years with my best reasoning and he sticks to his guns. He'll have none of it.
So, I pray while he and we are still in Northampton, God would meet him where he is, and reward the stubborn faith of this trusting man who's put his full weight on the belief God will answer and supply.