There were five of us. Five of us, with eight left over sandwiches from the campus restaurant to feed the homeless in the streets of Chicago. Conflicting feelings of nerves and excitement filled us. Like the prayer for the two small fish and five loaves, we prayed, "Lord, multiply our efforts." We earnestly prayed for direction as well as a sense of urgency for the Gospel message.
We broke up in teams and went our separate ways. As other team headed toward the brownline, my team asked me, "where should we go?" I thought about all the alleys and bridges crowded with the homeless, but Michigan Avenue was placed on my heart. "But Lord, that really doesn't make sense," I thought. Michigan Avenue is the wealthiest part of Chicago, but regardless, we listened and blindly walked in that direction, unaware of what to expect. We walked about a half of a mile without seeing one homeless person. We kept walking. A mile, with still no sign. At mile and a half I was concerned. I had never walked in the streets of Chicago with out seeing anyone homeless. Just as we were looking for a place to cross the street to turn around, about to give up our efforts, I spotted a homeless man: John.
We approached him and offered him a meal. He gladly accepted and hastily took a bite of his cheeseburger. We simply told him that we wanted to give him some help and a taste of the hope we have received. Then we asked if we could pray with him. His eyes fell, he raised his withered hands to hide his tears. In between his broken sobs he whispered, "I was about to give up...I was about to give up." The three of us Moody students fell to our knees, burdened for his brokenness. We took this time to go to the Lord and lift him in prayer, calling on our Savior for deliverance.
After our prayer we shared the Gospel, telling John of God's heart for the poor and needy. We emphasized that we all fall short and fail, and without the Lord, we are ALL broken. Only the redemptive blood of Jesus is enough to save us from our sin. John's sobs grew louder as we asked him if he wanted to invite Jesus into his life. He nodded his head and we silently waited for John to ask the Lord into his life in his own words.
About 40 seconds past and with his sobs now under control, he fervently prayed, "Jesus. I need you. Save me. I cant live without you. Make me a good person. I believe in your Son, and I know you love me and that Jesus died for me. Come into my life. Come into my life." His raw, emotional, genuine prayer sent a heaviness in my soul as I realized the eternal impact of his words. When I looked up from praying, I saw a new brother in Christ, redeemed in the blood of Jesus. We encouraged him in his decision and told him the power of prayer. We asked him for his email, and asked him where we he spends his days so we could reconnect with him. We also connected him with a church and a homeless ministry.We looked at the time and realized that it was now 12:10 am. We left in awe of what we had just witnessed. The Holy Spirit was at work.
We prayed as we walked back to campus, both aloud and in our hearts. When I got back to my room, I really spent some time to reflect on John's conversion. As I looked back, in hindsight I saw the Lord's hand working in my night from beginning to end. The Lord gave us a small team to make us weak and to rely on Him. He heard our fervent prayers of blessing. He placed Michigan Avenue on our hearts, and he lead us John. He gave us a divine appointment. As we were about to give up, God brought John to us, and as John was about to give up, He brought us to John.
so let us think....
I have learned that when we allow the Lord to direct our path, there is nothing coincidental; everything is a God-incidence. On Friday night, Christ showed me this reality in my own life.
When God puts people in your path, it is not a coincidence! Share the Gospel message often, pray for divine appointments with people who are ready to accept the Lord, plants seeds in peoples life, and live your life as an example of God's saving grace.
"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:15 b
It was not a coincidence that I met John, but it was a God-incidence.
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? ...So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Romans 10:14-17