Story of Wonder
We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.
We’ve begun asking folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and rejoice in God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Doug.
I’ve been a part of the 14th Street community group for the better part of a year now. This past Tuesday, I was talking to Sam, a new friend for about three weeks. Sam was telling me how he believed “Yeshua” had sent him to live on the street in order to preach the Gospel. Just then a couple approached, the woman was sobbing and asked in desperation, “Can you help us?” She identified herself as “Tracy” and her husband as “Moose.” I replied, “We can feed you, and offer some articles of clothing, but beyond that the best we can do is pray for you.” Tracy replied, “No, we need your help! My husband was just released from the hospital, and they said he has a brain tumor!” I confess I was feeling rather helpless to know at that moment what to do for them. Just about then, Orlando (who drives the food truck and leads this ministry) walked up and I quickly explained the situation. We placed our hands on Moose and Tracy and prayed for Jesus’ healing and help.
About ten minutes later I was talking with some other friends, when a lady with a clip board and a man with some sort of county uniform approached me. The lady said she was from the Homeless Trust. She explained they were working with Miami Dade County to identify all veterans who were homeless and help them get off the street by year’s end. She asked me to help her identify any veterans present. As a veteran myself, I was happy to assist. As I began asking those present, Tracy replied, “Moose is a vet!” I immediately put them together with our new visitors who began assuring Moose and Tracy they would get them the help they needed. Later on Orlando told me he had receive an email two weeks prior from the Homeless Trust, but wasn’t sure when they would show up at 14th Street. It was obviously a divine appointment! At that moment, Jesus seemed to be whispering in my ear, “You of little faith.”
Over the months of going to 14th Street, God has dramatically changed my perspective of “homeless people.” They are actually just people, who happen to be homeless. Each one’s circumstances are unique. They are people just like you and I – with families (parents, siblings, spouses or ex-spouses and children) whom most have not seen for years. Each one has a life story and they come from many different places of the country and the world. When I first started going to the street, I’ll admit it was more out of “Christian obligation” to help those in need. In recent months God has given me a heart-felt compassion and desire to see and be with my friends there. I literally can’t wait for Tuesdays to come around so we can hang with our friends on 14th Street.
A number of weeks ago my daughter, Ashley (who also has joined us on Tuesdays) shared some lyrics of the song, “Kiss Your Feet” by Christian artist John Mark McMillan. I’ll close with the lyrics that begin the song:
I dreamed I kissed your feet
Between the cigarette butts
On the side of 14th Street
I got down on my hands and my knees
With an alabaster jar
I dreamed I’d bleed with your praises
Just to make the world
Smell like your grace again