Before I go on, I need you to know that we had 3 of the kids with us. Spencer, Paxton and Chloe. I'm completely focused on the homeless man and not thinking about my kids in the back. This is important because later I realize that them being there to witness all this unfold was very valuable.
Going back to the story, my hubby rolled down the window and the man approached our truck. Before he could talk I asked him what he wanted to eat. Now I know I could have brought back anything and he would have graciously taken it but I wanted him to have whatever he wanted. He slowly said "Well ma'am, KFC is my favorite". As I was focused on getting this man fed, my husband was focused on his deeper needs. Will asked him where it was that he needed to go. The man then told us that he needed to stay in Sallisaw as recently he was arrested and had a court date coming up. SHOCK??? No, not to me. I was already guilty of assuming that he had some sort of criminal past. I know that's not Godly, Jesus would not have immediately assumed the worst in this man. But we all know that I am not Jesus...I'll tell you what did shock me though, his truthfulness and his willingness to reveal that he had recently been in some trouble. Again I'm assuming here, but I think some people may not be as willing to help if they knew of this mans criminal past. So realistically he was taking a chance of missing out on a meal by telling us. After a bit of further discussion, we left him there as we headed to KFC.
On the ride and wait in the drive through we (remember 3 of the kids are with us) were all talking about the homeless man. What had he done to get arrested? Where do you think he sleeps at night? Did you see how dirty he was? And the unspoken questions that was going through my head, Should I help this man? What if he was arrested because he had hurt someone? What if he did something that I just couldn't wrap my mind around?
The drive through took awhile because there were cars in front of us, but we ordered the man a chicken dinner and something to drink. On the drive back to him I asked my husband if I could get out of the truck and pray with the man!! WAIT, wasn't I just questioning if I should help this man??? And now I want to pray with him??? Understandably Will wasn't comfortable with me getting out on the side of the road with this man so he said he would drive up as close as he could and I could roll down my window. So that's just what we did...as the man comes to the truck I asked him his name, it is Marion.
I reached my hand out to Marion, and he took my hand in his dirty rough hands. I grabbed my husbands hand on my left, we all closed our eyes and right then and there my family and I prayed with and for Marion.
Heavenly father, we lift up our new friend Marion to you. We ask for protection from the cold. We pray for his safety and for his health. We thank you for putting us in his path allowing us to help him tonight and we pray that you place others in his path that can help him more then we can.
Short, sweet and a first for me. I can now think of all the specifics I should have asked the Lord for on behalf on Marion. Things that I have never, ever had to personally pray for...a warm place to sleep for him, because I have a home with central heat and a bed with soft warm blankets...for inner warmth or the ability to build a fire somewhere to protect him against frost bite, because I have never been so cold that frost bite was an option....for the ability to bathe soon in order to keep his skin free of infection &/or bugs, because I have never been that dirty....for the ability to eat everyday, because I have never been that hungry...for someone in his life to love him and care for him, because I have always been surrounded by an immense amount of love!! I could go on...
I'm thankful that the Holy Spirit took over and lead me to help him in the small ways that we could. I'm thankful that the Holy Spirit did not allow me to judge this man by his appearance or any of his past actions, I can now see clearly that it is all irrelevant.
I handed Marion his food and a blanket which we kept in the truck. Oh that blanket was special to him, he teared up when we gave him that blanket. We said our goodbyes and headed on our way!
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 37 Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? 40 "The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25: 35-40
May the good Lord look after Marion! And may He always use me as a vessel to teach my kids!