Are you like me? You see a homeless person on the street or sitting in the city, either driving or walking by, and you feel slightly nervous? Sad, yet never moved enough to actually make eye contact or stop? I get it; you wouldn’t necessarily want to be handing money to just anyone, which could end up being for drugs or something, but deep down we all wish we were just a little braver and just a little more considerate to those in need.
But I didn’t really feel that way a few weekends ago.
I live outside the city of Lancaster where it’s pretty rural, open, and is populated by mainly Amish and very conservative people, so seeing what I saw was pretty surprising to me. I had met my friend for coffee that evening before taking her and I to church later on, and on our way to church, that’s when I saw him.
In fact, he was sitting right in the parking lot on the curb near the exit of the shopping plaza we were in. I had seen him there pulling in to meet my friend, but didn’t really think much of it. I can only remember thinking about how I’ve never seen a homeless person in the area before.
My friend had been dropped off, so I had to take her with me back to the church that evening. When we were leaving, we saw him there on my friend’s side of the car. He looked like your typical homeless person; the dull, battered clothing and jackets on, large bags and a travel-sized backpack sitting there next to him, and of course, the iconic cardboard home-made sign propped up next to him. Directly to our right, there he sat…and I couldn’t bear to look over and possibly make eye contact. I knew I’d feel so ashamed if I’d seen him and didn’t stop or decide to do anything about it. Sadly, I just couldn’t find it in me. But my friend decided to look, and when she turned back to me she said, “did you see what that man’s sign said?”
I told her no.
She said it simply read,
“I need a miracle.”
Stopped at the stoplight just up ahead, we both stared at each other speechless. Both her and I had never seen anything like that before, but just like any other evening, we went on our way.
It wasn’t until later that night at church when it really hit me.
During the time of worship, God really spoke His thoughts to me. I love His thoughts, because they never make me feel ashamed about my choices in life, instead, they make me rethink some of the things I choose to do.
Tears welled up in my eyes. “How could I have ignored that man when I carry inside of me the very miracle he needs?”
But God helped me to realize something crucially important from this. Even though we chose not to stop, even though we missed that one chance to share our faith with the man, I can still gain a revelation from it. I still have the chance to pray for him and his life. Imagine if someone, a complete stranger, decided to pray over your life? Isn’t that a tiny little miracle in itself? That the patterns of the day aligned just right, and two paths crossed. God gave me a different outlook; an outlook based on His mercy and grace.
That homeless man made me realize that he’s also a representation of the world. Whether you’re of faith or not, we all need a miracle. Sometimes a mere smile on the street or in the hallway at school can be a miracle for someone. An encouraging text, a letter in the mail, a day spent with a close friend…we are all carriers of miracles supplied by history’s greatest miracle – Jesus. The world doesn’t need any more seemingly unattainable Instagram accounts. The world doesn’t need any more angry, hate-filled replies on Facebook threads. The world certainly doesn’t need more war, political dispute, or religion.
The world is that man: “I need a miracle.”