This has been a lonely, hard week for me. My only sister died unexpectedly in a local hotel room. She was there working under the care of a non-profit organization that helps people get back into some kind of normality with their lives.
She had been living a homeless life for quite some time and finally decided to ask for help. She was always a hard-working person … it wasn't laziness that made her homeless, it was her inability to move forward to finding conclusion. Her life was always subjected to indecision. It was hard for her to decide to throw something away or to save it since she probably will need it again. That indecision was the way she lived her life. This condition never got better … it only took her life captive. She did make one decision she followed through to conclusion … that decision was to follow Jesus. No matter what condition her life was in she always was faithful to tell others about Jesus.
When she died she didn’t have a lot of personal items, and much of what she possessed she would give to people so she could tell them about the Gospel. She collected Bibles just to give them away. She had her share of problems in life, but she never lost her perspective of the life to come that Jesus promises. Most people who met my sister thought she was a pleasant, kind-hearted person who thought for herself and always positioned her options on the foundation of God’s Word.
Homelessness isn’t an easy life. I can’t imagine always dealing with the temporary state of everything. Most of us have never been homeless, but we all have had struggles where life takes a strange twist and we are left wondering what we are to do. In those moments, we have to learn to trust God, learn to wait, and be patient for God to make an entrance into our circumstance. That is the hardest part of living a faith-filled life … that in between of the worry stage and the faith stage of the unknown. I'm sure my sister lived most of her life in that category.
Faith, of course, never develops until it is tested. We love to say God has it all under control until you are facing the lions like Daniel … and then you really have to believe that. It is either the lions, or it’s you. How will your faith serve you then? I’m sure Daniel had faith in God because it ended him in the lion’s den. But defying the king in protest is one thing … it is another when you are facing hungry lions. I have imagined homelessness is similar. You can say I love the freedom of having no responsibility, but it’s another thing when you are facing the elements without shelter and you have had nothing to eat. You see, the faith that God saves you is a bit different than the faith it takes to find a warm bed and a good meal.
We believe God brings salvation to people by faith, but sometimes it is harder to exercise faith when you are facing death because of a disease. This is the struggle, isn't it? I believe Jesus can save me but do I believe He can meet my needs and support my life by providing for me what I need? My sister had no other choice than to trust God. I’m reminded of a pastor that I once visited in Ghana. The pastor told our group that when his parishioners get sick, they have to believe God for healing or they just die. There are no 911 or Urgent Care clinics around. You either believe God … or you don’t. That is why miracles are so common there, they have no other alternative source for healing. So, in many ways, my sister had that kind of faith. It didn't mean she had a perfect life, by no means did she, but despite her circumstances, she trusted in God to meet her everyday needs.
Death is God’s way of saying, ”It’s time to come home.” The old hymn reminds us “that this world is not my home, I am just a passing through.” So, with the Lord, no one is really is homeless in the sense that our home is not here, our home is always with the Lord. No matter what is happening in your life today, remember that God is still in control and He will provide for all your needs:
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Death does not have the final say, in fact, as a believer in Jesus Christ, death actually does provide you the access to the riches of Christ. When we have lived through inequality here, in death all are made equal. Thank you, Jesus.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler