I left my temporary housing facility today (the back of the car) and decided to take a walk to the library where I could sit outside on a bench and charge up my electronic devices with my portable solar panels while I read the word and listened to some music. I decided to hit the laundromat on my way to the library to see if I had enough money on my Cyberwash card to do a load of laundry. Unfortunately my laundry will have to wait a few more days...lol. As I exited the laundromat, I saw a gentleman waving to me from across the street. I wasn't too sure who it was, but I waved back and made my way across the street to meet up with him.
When I got closer to him, I realized that it was the gentleman I had ministered to a couple of weeks ago. I had ministered to him and his wife. For those of you who have followed my story, you know that they are the couple who had confessed to have been Christians at one point in their lives, but who fell in with the wrong crowd when they became homeless and ended up falling back into those things that the Lord had delivered them from. I met him one other time after that initial meeting at which time he told me that he and his wife had found shelter in someone's basement. His wife was ill and that's where she was sleeping at the moment.
Well, when I made it across the street I sat right down beside him on the bench and immediately asked him how he was doing. He told me that he and his wife had an unfurnished room to stay in at a friend's house. That's where his wife was at the moment because she was sick again. I'm sorry to say this, but a red flag went up when I heard that. I was suspicious of his wife's first bout with illness when we spoke, considering the fact that they told me that they had reverted to their old ways of substance abuse when they became homeless, but I thought I was being judgmental and I tried to brush it off.
He then went on about not having any money and how things were really tough for them. I tried to encourage him and continued to point him to Jesus, but every time I tried to encourage him with the word of God, he just looked away from me. That seemed odd. He didn't seem capable of really focusing on me. Maybe it was conviction... I don't know.
I was carrying a paperback NKJV NT and offered it to him. He accepted it and flipped through it without looking for anything in particular. I continued to try to encourage him and even tried to be an example of how you can have no material wealth but still have hope and joy in the Lord, no matter what your circumstance.
Before I left him, I asked if I could pray for him and his wife. He agreed to that. As I prayed, the words seemed to stick in my mouth. I was tripping over myself and the prayer didn't seem genuine. After I prayed, I shook his hand and left. I wasn't going to hang at the library as planned because I felt that my presence was not welcome. As I walked away, I marveled at how badly my prayer for him and his wife had gone. Then it occurred to me that it could have been the Holy Spirit telling me not go proceed with praying for them at that time, but when that happens, the Holy Spirit usually stops me dead in my tracts and doesn't let me ramble on.
I've discovered that as much as I want to help everyone, sometimes when I'm ministering to the lost and brokenhearted, one of the responses I have to be prepared for is to walk away without offering assistance, but still remembering to pray for them in my personal prayers. In this situation, I think all his talk about their Christianity and their hope of getting back into a relationship with God may just be all talk. Many people out on the street are experts in “talk.” They tell you what you want to hear in hopes of getting a buck or two from you. Well, I think that may have been what I experienced. All I know is that upon reflecting on the situation, I can see several red flags that alerts me to the fact that this gentleman was probably not being genuine with me. That's okay. I can handle that. Of course, that changes my whole method of ministering to him in the future. Yes, I will continue to minister to him every time I see him.
I left him with a bible and prayed for him. He knows that I'm there to encourage him and pray for him and his wife. I'm praying for them in my personal prayers. Unless and until he and his wife repent and seek God's face, their lives will be spent apart from Him and His bountiful blessings. That isn't something I can alter. Only they have the power to change that through true repentance. I left him with this verse: Mat 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I look forward to some day having a praise report to share with everyone about this couple. I'm not giving up on them. :)