Written by Jessica Bayus
Homeless. When you hear this word, what comes to mind? It’s amazing how quickly we picture a dirty man wandering through the garbage in hopes of something to eat, or a woman with a shopping cart full of her only belongings. Homelessness can take many different forms: a teenage girl dressed in normal clothes, a man in a business suit down on his luck or a group of friends laughing together. The drastic disparity we first imagine is not always the case.
Siloam Mission in Winnipeg opens their doors to offer a simple meal. If you ask people eating how they are or how the meal is, usually they nod their heads. But there was one man whose honest answer I will never forget. He invited me to sit down: “All these people, when you ask them how they are, will act like they’re okay ’cause they don’t want to be rude, but the truth is that if we are here, we are not okay.”
He continued to tell me the story of why he was there. The only thing I can vividly remember is his story of how he was hoping his relatives would allow him to live with them. His eyes seemed hopeless, lifeless, dull, and pain-stricken. I asked if I could pray for him. He smiled and said yes as he removed his toque from his head—I was surprised at his reverence.
I thanked the Lord for loving him and asked Jesus to give him a roof over his head and that he would experience a welcome with loving arms. I prayed asking, not with a plea to God but with the knowledge that He cares for this child so completely because each of us is “inscribed on the palm of His hands” (Isaiah. 49:16). If Jesus died to heal the wounded, then I knew He would help this man. After praying, I looked up into the middle-aged man’s eyes and I will never forget the feeling of that moment.
His eyes shone with the brightest hope and sparkled with the sweetest love as he said, “Thank-you. I love you.” And with that, he was gone. He jumped up from his seat and left at that moment. Filled with new hope, he set off to experience something amazing all because he was reminded he was cared for and loved. Love is powerful. It doesn’t have to be big, because it shows itself so much more in the small things! In that moment, it felt like angels surrounded us, and it was only the two of us in that split second where I gazed into his life-filled eyes and saw his countenance rise.
We are called to be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful. Homelessness is simply this: “without a home.” In that moment together, this man was given a home in the feelings of warmth, comfort, and care. Our true home is found not in the roof above our head, but in the care and comfort of Christ, because it is what we are designed for. “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
By offering to pray, you welcome a stranger into the home of God, for He resides in the prayers of His people. Imagine letting them experience the intimate love of God! Prayer is a direct line to heaven. When we welcome others into that conversation with God, things happen, and heaven moves for those He loves.