TITLE: Connections - 3.1.20
By Hannah Cooper
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The morning rush swarms around me as I step off the escalator and power-walk to the train station, dodging people like obstacles in a video game.
I glance at my watch again and scowl. Just missed my connection. The next train comes in 10 minutes.
So much for getting up early.
I’d planned to sleep in and catch up on the precious hours I’d lost over the week, but the garbage men came at 5.30am, and the infernal noise of their garbage truck woke me up – yet again.
Sighing in annoyance and blaming the bus for making me late, I walk over to screens which display the train schedules in rolling text. There’s 4 minutes until 9am so I decide to wait outside the Opal gates and save money – it’s cheaper after peak times.
Looking around, I spy a homeless man wearing a green jacket. I’d been too busy to consider him before, but I was aware. I’m always aware of them.
I feel a tug on my heart whenever I see homeless people… or maybe it’s a twinge of guilt? Guilt, because as much as I want to, I never show them dignity. Oh, I rehearse it in my mind, imagining how I’d show them God’s love and practical help, but I never act on it. Fear wars within me. Fear of messing up, of being too nervous to show the love of Jesus. Or worried that they might be drugged out and dangerous. And sometimes, sometimes I wonder if they’re bludgers living on the dole and looking for easy cash to support their addictions – and I walk past convincing myself that it would be irresponsible to support them in ruining their lives. That’s why I give to charities, alright?
I look at the man again, sensing his genuine need.
So, I consider the what ifs.
What if I walked over to him? What if I crouched down and looked him in the face? What if I told him Jesus loves him?
I pull out my wallet even as I weigh the pros and cons. Half contemplating going through with it.
Well, I can’t use the train as an excuse, now can I? I have time. And I was planning on a later start to work after all.
I study the Asian man as he squats on the floor, hiding his face in his hands. His hat sits next to a poorly scrawled note on ripped cardboard that asks for help. The trolley bag next to him has seen better days too.
Compassion and a sense of calm fills me, overriding my usual fears. ‘Lord, if you want me to speak to him, tell me what you want to say.’
I quieten my spirit, tune out the busyness around me and wait. Then I sense it. ‘Tell him I will never leave him.’
Still, I deliberate.
Yet, something drives me. I don’t want to feel regret anymore. I want to obey the call of God and be His voice, His hands and feet… before I know it, my feet have taken over and I’m stepping around the rush to get to him.
Still unable to believe that I’m doing this – on my own, for the first time in my life – I hunker down and say hello. I wait as the man lowers his hands and looks up. He has a nice, open face, with grey stubble on his chin.
What I say next makes me cringe at the stupidity. “You good?”
Obviously he isn’t, or he wouldn’t be here. I shake my head and try again.
“We'll... I just want to say, Jesus loves you. If you call on Him, He'll never leave you, and He'll help you.”
I feel the connection of another human spirit as we look at each other, and I hand him a $5 note, all I had in my wallet. “And I hope this does too.”
He takes it slowly and smiles at me as if surprised someone stopped to acknowledge him. “Thank you.”
I smile back and pat his arm. “Take care of yourself.”
Standing, I slowly turn and walk to the Opal gates, biting my lip and wondering.
Perhaps God used that garbage truck for a reason. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to sleep in, so I’d have time to impact someone else’s life.
As I start praying for the man, feeling God’s love for him, I know the risk was worth it.
He was worth it.
Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me. Matthew 25:40 MSG
Value the poor, because they have mastered the one thing God wants above all else: relying on Him for everything they have. 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? James 2:5 NLT
*This is a true story.
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