Imagine that I am at a local park. The sun is shining, the air is just the right temperature. A slight cool breeze blows by and make me feel the very presence of God.
The heavens are declaring the glory of God, and their expanse shows the work of his hands.
On the playground I can hear the giggles of my granddaughters as they go down the slide or climb the assorted obstacles. They are having a great time. I feel peace and joy. God is present.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13 13
Through the corner of my eye, I notice a young man sitting on another bench. He is also watching kids play. I try to figure out which ones might belong to him. However, he does not really seem to be watching any specific kids. In fact, as I look more carefully it looks sad. His expensive suit is messy, and his eyes look swollen.
I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the broken, and strengthen the weak; but the sleek and strong I will destroy. I will shepherd them with justice.’ – Ezekiel 34:16
My heart goes to him, and I go over to chat with him. Initially I just sit there on the bench praying for him. Looking for a way to break the ice I ask pointing in the direction where my youngest granddaughter is moving down the slide, “Those three are my granddaughters.” He looks in the direction I am pointing and gives a slight smile but says nothing. In fact, it looks like he is about to cry.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15
Suddenly he opens up and tells me that he had always been too busy to come to this park with his two kids, a boy and a girl. This morning his wife and they were in a horrific wreck, and they all died. He goes onto talk about the intense pain that he is feeling. I struggle because I recognize the opportunity that God has given me to share love for this man, but I also need to keep an eye on my granddaughters.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
– Matthew 6:33
I decide to trust God with my granddaughters but not totally take my eyes off of them while listening to this deeply hurting child of God. He goes on to talk of a whole host of regrets and sins in his life. He is really going now. Mostly I just nod. At the end he mentions that he is thinking about taking his life. Then silence. What am I to say? What does a man of God do? He then asks if I have a pistol that he can borrow? He promises me that he won’t actually commit suicide but he would feel safer with some protection. I shrug my shoulders and say, “Sure, here you go.”
That is absurd. Yet many choose to do the same thing with panhandlers or people camping out at local parks. They will say, “Its not my responsibility what they do with the cash or food I give them.” If you visit with them and discover that it is likely they are to buy drugs or prostitutes or eat the food and save their money for the above than it is like giving a gun to the suicidal man. You are responsible.
Real love would require the man or woman of God to take the man at the park to professionals. In the same way when you come across the random person experiencing homelessness take them to professionals so that they can get well.