This was originally posted on Facebook in my “notes.” I wrote this prior to creating this blog and here is the original link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/angela-cockrell-dingler/my-divine-appointment-with-a-homeless-man/623720287675077
My Divine Appointment with a Homeless Man
Many have asked about my Divine appointment with a homeless man in downtown Birmingham several days ago. It has been difficult for me to put the experience into words and convey what a strange and inspirational meeting that it was. I am really not sure that I can exactly do justice to the entire picture;however, I will try.
Leading up to this chance encounter there were several things going on in our lives. It would be way too much to go into every little detail – which I am sure you will be glad for me to spare you of since I am not a woman of few words, anyway! LOL I do feel like I should say that the Lord had been speaking to me about my faith in Him, my trust in Him, and resting in Him. Also, the Lord had been dealing with me about my faith in His finished work on the cross, specifically.I have been struggling with serving the Lord because of a lot of self condemnation, false pride, and disobedience. I have been asking the Lord to remove several character defects from me and I have been impatient.
Also, Jerry has been dealing with continuing his fight with alcoholism. After being sober for almost 3 years, he had begun to struggle with alcohol again. The reason we were downtown was to see an attorney about representing Jerry for a DUI charge.This, in and of itself, was such a stressful thing. After dealing with this struggle for a couple of months and seeing it accelerate it had finally culminated in a legal matter. My faith was needing a boost. Yes, both Jerry andI have truly been seeking the Lord all along. We pray and read the Bible and attend church regularly. I know in my own heart that I had been and have been sincere in my walk and everything in me told me that Jerry had been, too. So, I have had to ask and wonder sometimes…. Why did God let Jerry drink, again???
At the same time, I would know in my heart that God knows best, He knows all, He is sovereign, He is good, and He can take a mess and turn it into a message. He gave us free will, knowing our every move before we even make it and He has a purpose and a plan. Even having such a strong belief and faith in place, while walking through the valleys and the shadows on the way to the revelation and the good end that God has in mind, I could have used a boost that day … we all could use a boost, an encouragement. But God doesn’t have to give us one…. He doesn’t have to do that…. But He does and He did that for me on the day that I had the encounter with the homeless man.
Leaving the attorney’s office I was feeling somewhat strange. The appointment didn’t go exactly the way that I thought that it would. I was kind of in a fog and was praying in my heart asking God what He had in mind for us. I was asking for direction from Him and thanking Him for His peace. It was cold and raining andwe had parked two or three blocks away. Jerry offered to go and get the car and come and pick me up from in front of the building. I thanked him and waswaiting in the lobby. I looked at my phone to see if there were any messages about the kids or anything. I didn’t see any so I clicked over to Facebook fora couple of minutes. Finding there was nothing remarkable going on there, I put my phone in my pocket and walked outside because I was thinking that Jerry maybe out there.
Well, as soon as walked out the door, I saw a somewhat older, black gentleman coming straight towards me. He had a backpack on his back and I immediately thought that he may be homeless. He was dressed for the weather and was quite clean. He came very near to me and complimented me on my outfit and said that I looked like an angel. I had many strange thoughts and feelings coming over me because I really want to be Jesus to others and share God’s love. I also immediately felt guilty because I didn’t have any money if he asked for any, nor did I have anything at all to share, like a snack or anything. I felt guilty for thinking that he may ask for money… I had so many weird feelings… but also some kind of sweet spirit feeling at the same time.
He did ask me if I had fifty cents to help him get a little more money for the food that he needed for the day. I did think that I smelled a faint smell of alcohol, but he didn’t appear to be drunk. This added to my feelings of not knowing how to respond to him. And God has told me to love people as they are just like He does. I did tell him that my husband was coming to pick me up and would be there in a moment and maybe he had some change. He smiled at me with the sweetest smile and hugged me and told me not to worry about that. He said that he would continue on down the block.
I –for some reason- blurted out that I would pray for him and asked for him to be praying for us, too. He turned back to me and was smiling such a sweet smile and said that he would. He said that God would be taking care of both of us. For some reason, tears welled up in my eyes and I said, “I know, and we are supposed to love one another the way that He does.” You see, I was feeling badly that this man, who told me that he lives under the bridge and needed fifty cents to have the rest of what he needed for the day was clearly not unhappy or trying to make me feel badly that I didn’t have the change to give to him. Also, he didn’t seem to be worried that he may not have enough to get by on or that he didn’t have a place to sleep out of the cold. I felt guilty that I was not in a position to help him.I felt badly that he was having to sleep in the cold. I was wondering if my faith was big enough that I could offer to take him somewhere warm and help him in some way.
There are so many emotions and thoughts that can run through a person’s mind in a split second… it’s hard to tell you exactly… but that homeless man read my spirit. He knew that I was about to cry because I had compassion for him and guilt at the same time because I was not able or willing to do more for him.
And do you know what he did? He came right back over to meand he said very strongly, “Don’t you do that! Don’t you cry. We ain’t gonna be all that until we get to glory. God knows we aren’t perfect and He loves us as we are. Don’t you lose your faith! Never let go of your faith in God! As long as you have your faith in Him and in His love then you’re gonna be ok.” As he was saying these things, I really began to cry. Tears were streaming down my face. This homeless man tenderly wiped my tears with his fingers as I was crying and he was encouraging my faith in my Lord.
Why did I let him do this? How did he feel like he could or know what to say? I began speaking like a child… I asked him why he lived under the bridge and told him that I didn’t want for him to live under the bridge. He told me: “Child, don’t you worry about me. God has me where He wants me right now and He is taking care of me. Don’t worry about what God is doing with me, I am going to be all right.” He told me that he had gotten out of work and had been for four years. He said that he was a janitor and did maintenance work for most of his life and had worked in restaurants, as well. He said that when he got laid off that he had tried to get another job in one of those type of positions but had not been able to get hired. He said that you would think at least some little old restaurant would hire a broke down old man to do some dishes – and he chuckled and said –but that just isn’t what God is wanting for me to do right now.
Then he continued to tell me that with God anything is possible. That God will not forsake us. He told me that I should always believe in the Lord and His love for me and in His goodness.
He said very boldly, like a preacher in a sermon who is overcome with emotion: “Even if a spirit of SUICIDE comes against you, GOD HIMSELF WILL SHOW UP!” This blew me away… this homeless man had no way of knowing that I have attempted and been hospitalized for attempting suicide SEVEN TIMES. The tears came again. He wiped them away again, hugged me, and blessed me and then he said that he had to go.
Robin called me right then as he was walking away, and Jerry pulled up not even a minute later. I was still in quite a fog, praising the Lord, teary-eyed, and told them everything that happened. God showed up for me in a huge way and I cannot thank Him enough that He cares for each of us so greatly that He uses the simple to confound the wise– that He uses those of us who no one would suspect – to bless each other and carry each other through EVERYTHING. God uses who He will and those who are willing. I want to be one willing! I pray that this blesses you! This was a Godwink!