It was one of those rare Sundays that Mark was working overtime at the airport. Marley and I got up and dressed and headed out the door for church. A few miles down the road, I turned the corner and noticed a man standing in the median holding a sign.
“Lost job. Anything helps.”
We live in the metro Atlanta suburbs and sign-carrying beggars are pretty normal sights. Most of the time, I wonder if it’s a scam – you hear about it on the news all the time. People can make really good money begging on the street corners.
This man was different. I don’t know what it was about him that struck me the way it did, but apparently, my daughter noticed it, too.
“Did you see him, mommy?”
“Yes, baby, I did. Makes me sad.”
“Yea, me, too,” she said.
We drove on to church, and throughout Sunday school and the worship service, this man was on my heart. I honestly can’t remember what the sermon was about that day, but it didn’t matter. God’s message for me was completely clear.
Leaving church, I had made up my mind that if that man were still there, I was stopping. I didn’t know what I was going to do once I stopped, but that was up to God, not me.
Sure enough, we came to the same median, and there he was. I pulled in to the gas station right on the corner where he stood, got out of my car, and walked over to the road. He looked at me strangely at first – maybe I was the only person who had stopped that day. I yelled for him to come over.
He was younger – my age, I would guess. Early to mid-30s, clean cut, attractive. We chatted for a little while. I asked him what his situation was and how I could help. He explained that he had been employed by his brother who got involved with drugs and took the whole company down. Now he, his wife, and their baby were living in a motel that rents by the week and everything they own is in storage. He had lost pretty much everything. He explained that he was picking up odd jobs during the week, but stood on that street corner on weekends.
He kept mentioning his faith, and how he just knew that God had a plan for him and they would be okay. I touched his shoulder and looked him in the eyes and asked, “What do you need today?”
“Rent is due to the storage facility by Tuesday or I’m going to lose everything I own. Then I can figure out how to pay rent on this motel and get diapers.”
I asked him to come with me. My daughter Marley chatted with him while we walked inside the convenience store to the ATM. I took out $300 then turned and handed it to the man.
Tears. That’s the first response I got. Tears. His eyes welled up with tears and he began to thank me over and over again. He said rent on his storage unit was $200 and he needed groceries and diapers. $300 would be perfect.
I hugged him. Marley did, too. He was so sweet and humble. I told him I would pray for him, and if I saw him again, I would stop again.
I still pray for him. I haven’t seen him again, but I still pray for him.
I called my husband when I finished wiping the tears from my eyes and when he answered the phone, I said, “Please don’t be mad at me, but….” and I went on to share the story.
We really couldn’t afford to get rid of $300. We were living paycheck to paycheck at the time. I told my husband that I wasn’t sure how we’d manage until the next payday, and he assured me that we would figure it out.
And we did. Because God is so good.