I was on the subway in an area notorious for panhandling. A man sat near and started talking to me. I tried to act fairly uninterested but he kept talking.
He asked to use my phone. I said, “hmmm. . . maybe. What’s the number, I’ll dial.”
We couldn’t reach who he wanted. But I suspected this was part of his strategy to get my money.
His gums were a toothless ridge on the bottom. His skin was tan and tough with deep, hard lines. He opened a newspaper paper and told me about everything he was reading. I humored him, trying to trust God, but fully expecting I was going to have to turn down his request for money, which I assumed he would use for meth or whiskey.
I tried to pray for him but it just felt so hopeless. How could prayer really help someone like this? I can’t even pray myself or my well balanced friends out of our little problems. This guy’s got dirt under his fingernails and second hand shoes on. His problems aren’t little.
But as he continued talking he told me that he had been a leader in a program that helped homeless men get off addictions and off the street. And I actually believe him. It is called Potter’s hands. The men work all day for their room and board. they attend Bible studies three times a day. No cigarettes and absolutely no drinking was allowed. And this guy had not only successfully gone through the program, and had become a supervisor in the house, but was now going downtown to drink coffee, hang out with a good friend, read some scripture and just watch the pretty girls. He said he had learned how to appreciate the beautiful little things in life. Yes, this man loves the beautiful things in life.
I had totally underestimated this guy, Steve. And I had totally underestimated the power of his God.