Do you believe in coincidence?
My son, like all those of childlike faith, wants to help the homeless. When we visit our city's libraries, parks, and thrift stores, we are approached for money every time. I'm ashamed to admit it, but my gut response is less than Christian. It's one thing to support the Rescue Mission or contribute food to the church's Room at the Inn. But in person? I hurry my children into the car for safety, then drive home, awash with guilt.
My husband and I were once involved in a church ministry on a major urban street; we spent time serving and worshipping with the homeless. I saw just enough erratic behavior to make me fearful now that I have young children to protect. Sometimes we stop at Richland Park for a nursing break. Watching homeless men creep closer and closer to my bench always sparks a fight-or-flight reaction.
In reality, who should be more in tune with the hungry than a nursing mother?
Here's where the story gets interesting. Remember those diapers I bought as a yard sale, which were such a symbol of God's provision? I sold them on Craig's List to a nice young couple when the baby outgrew them. A few months go by, and I recognize the father's name on a local website. His own blog explores radical Christianity and social justice. He has become an advocate for the homeless. I decide to send him my question in hopes of some concrete suggestions. Do read his answer--the last sentence is so powerful.
Those diapers have certainly challenged my thinking.
Postscript: in another bit of synchronicity, Christy at Abundant Life just shared her encounter with a homeless man on the road.