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About 8 years ago, I was blessed to be part of a group in Texas who went out and fed the homeless. Over the months that I was involved with this church group, we helped many people who were on the streets – alcoholics, drug addicts, those with mental disorders, and those who were just plain down on their luck. Although we were sad about their living conditions, it was such a rewarding experience to know that we helped these people in our own small way. I remember looking at them and wondering what horrible thing happened in their life that put them in such a terrible position. I usually prayed for them on the way back to the church.
One day as we were handing out food, an older man came up to us carrying a bunch of palm branches. We asked him what he needed, and he said “Nothing. I just wanted to share something with you.” His tattered clothing and unshaven face made it clear that he was indeed homeless. He went on to say that he felt God had called him to take palm branches and twist them into crosses to give to others as a sign of hope. He then took his branches and twisted them into the shape of a cross – a beautiful one at that. He made a cross for each of us, and we thanked him for such a wonderful gift. He was a very sweet man, very quiet and polite. After he was done, he made sure to thank us for coming down and helping the homeless. He then turned and walked away without taking and food or drink from our truck. I kept that cross for several months until it dried out and started to crumble. I didn’t want to let it go because the whole experience had such a major impact on me.
About 3 years ago, my ex-husband and I went out to eat at a steakhouse in Washington, D.C. As we walked down the street in the city, a homeless man suddenly approached us and told us we looked like newlyweds. We thanked him and told him we had been married 20 years. He smiled and said “Well, you look like newlyweds. You are definitely meant for each other.” Again, this homeless man did not ask for a thing from us. We thanked him and continued on our way. Little did I know that would be the last meal that I would enjoy with my ex-husband. About a week later, I found out that he had been having an affair.
So, was that homeless man in Texas, who didn’t ask for any help from us, really an angel among us who was thanking us for helping out those who are less fortunate? Did he give us those crosses as a way to show us that God sees our good works? What about the man in Washington? Was that an angel who was trying to send a message to my ex-husband? Was this a divine way to let him know that what he was doing was wrong? I believe both of these were in fact angels among the homeless. I believe that things like this happen all the time, but we are too busy to notice. A lesson that I have learned from these two experiences are that we should never, ever judge others. We never know who and where we will experience divine intervention.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:37
“The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans). Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:9-10