Earlier in the week I stocked my fridge with biscuits and eggs to make breakfast sandwiches for the homeless who hang out in downtown Nashville. As the week past, I never felt the nudge to follow through with my intention. Knowing I would need to use the food in the next 4 days, I asked God to wake me up extra early on the day I was to go downtown. He woke me up bright and early this morning around 4 a.m. Even though I wanted to stay in bed and get some more sleep, I knew it was a nudge from God so I got up and started cooking.
After the last sandwich was handed out, I headed back to my car. Suddenly, a man ran up asking me if I had something for him. I felt bad, I only had a bottle of water to offer him. Dejected, he plopped down on the curb and told me to take the water back because he was just hungry. He told me that he had applied for multiple jobs over the past few days and no one would hire him because of the blisters and sores he had on his face and arms. He also told me how much pain it caused him. Willie went on to ask me if I could go to Walgreens and get a certain kind of ointment I had never heard of, for his condition.
From the curb, Willie looked up at me and said, “nobody cares.” As I tried to encourage him telling him there are people who care, he relays what happened to him earlier. “I walked up to a guy to ask him a question. He looks at me and says stop f***ing talking to me and get the f*** away from me.” Willie then said, “I wanted to ask him if he ever felt suicidal because I am tired, and I don’t see the point in living another day.” I asked him if I could pray with him and he said “no, I am mad at God! If he cares about me then how can all this bad stuff be happening to me?” He went on to explain that his wife of 12 years left him for another man even though he had been good to her. He was without a job, was homeless, had painful sores and missed his children. I tried to tell him God was for him and loved him. I reminded him God gives us free will choice and unfortunately the consequences of other’s actions can be so very hard. He started to cry so I thought he might be open to prayer. Again, he said “no, I am done and tired.”
Not knowing how else to comfort him or how I could change his mind about taking his life, my thoughts went back to his skin condition. I remembered that a few weeks ago I had filled a Walmart sack with things I thought a homeless person might need. I told Willie I might have something in my car to relieve some of his skin pain. As I dug through the bag, I grabbed a tube of ointment and handed it to him. He looked at it and told me it was the exact ointment he wanted me to buy at Walgreens! We both couldn’t believe it. I then asked him if he stayed in the area we were at. He told me he had never been there and didn’t know why he decided to come to this spot this morning. I know it was by Divine design.
Again, I reminded him of how God had set up our meeting to show him how much he is loved and cared for. Our Divine appointment that was anointed by a simple tube of ointment, which I have been driving around with for 2 weeks. created an opening. As the tears poured from Willie’s eyes as God used me to speak life into him, he said, “you aren’t leaving here without praying for me.” As we prayed in gratitude for our meeting, in hope and faith for the plans God had for his life, for physical, mental and spiritual healing, he told God he was sorry for being so angry. We hugged as the tears welled up in our eyes, knowing we both had experienced God working miracles.
After we visited another 10 minutes or so, he asked me, “have I coughed since you have been with me?” He hadn’t. He then said, “I have had a relentless cough and have had trouble breathing. My lungs struggle to even take a breath but since we prayed, my lungs are free to expand and no coughing!” Willie began to sing old gospel hymns from the top of his lungs as we departed ways. I am humbled to have had a front row seat to watch as Willie was healed, renewed and restored. Who knew God had a much bigger plan for my jaunt downtown than to spread a little love to the homeless? Sure glad I dragged myself out of bed so God’s plans could be fulfilled!