Frank is 23 years old. He loves Jesus and his girlfriend. He appreciates trail mix, deep discussions about faith, and friendly conversation.
Frank is homeless.
Every week I hit the streets of Chicago with fellow friends to share the Gospel. We’re part of a ministry outreach at my school, and since joining this group last year, I’ve never been challenged or stretched more. We grabbed our tracts as we left the room where we meet for prayer and reading of the Word. We walked the blockage to Michigan Avenue. We paired up and broke camp.
The Gospel weighs on my heart. Everywhere I look, I see dying souls who are walking blind into judgment and whose eyes are coated with scales. I usually don’t know who to talk to first, and it’s pretty overwhelming. That’s when I saw Frank,
He was holding a cardboard sign at the corner in front of the TopShop clothing store. I plopped down in front of him and said, “Excuse me, sir. What are you reading?”
So began our conversation. I actually knew his girlfriend, a homeless girl I met last year in the same area. We talked back stories and I learned about how he became a Christian. I learned how he ended up on the streets. I encouraged him and prayed with him and gave him a dollar, the only cash I had.
I respected his humanity, and I appreciated his rich faith in Christ.
Some of the strongest Christians I’ve met have been homeless people. Their joy in the Lord seems so opposite to what they’re going through, and it’s almost ridiculous considering their situations. Most people don’t look at them. Most people don’t care to take five minutes and ask them their story, let alone their names. It’s a fine, tricky, delicate line — some people are fakers, but others are real and truthful.
You can see, though, the light of God shining through those that are in Christ. That’s what I saw in Frank tonight, and I am in prayer for him as my brother.
When we are at our lowest moments, that’s when the Light of the World shines brightest because we truly have nothing left of ourselves. There’s no facade remaining. Our faith is refined, as Peter says, and it glistens as we become more sanctified in Christ.
It’s hard. I can’t pretend to resonate with Frank’s situation, nor any other homeless person’s trial to survive, but I can learn lessons of truth from their testimonies. I can be encouraged and preached to from the most unlikely of places.
Following God’s call and leading, I will always be surprised at how much more my eyes can be opened.
Romans 12:12 — “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Always. For the King who leads us ever deeper, sometimes into dark places or shadows or valleys, but who always brings us out on the other side looking more like himself.