Seeing Jesus

by on November 17th, 2010
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The woman was crying.

She had also been drinking.

It was a surprisingly mild January night and the moon was full. The line to get into the Macomb County Warming Center, at one our neighboring churches in Mount Clemens, Mich., was long, and the crowd was louder than usual. Did I mention the moon was full?

Someone had said something and then another word was said and … she was in tears.

That same night, another man asked three times, was this the line to get in? Would there be room enough for him?

Fortunately, I was just passing through at the shelter that night. I had no official duties, so I was able to do two things: to listen … and to say “yes.” (As a dad, I like it when I get to say “yes.” I wish it happened more often.)

I read a blog the next morning and stumbled across these words from an unknown author: “Pray that the Christians in this town can be Jesus to those who need to see Him.”

Those are challenging words. Can we “be Jesus?” How can we not at least try? Are we not called to shine light into the world?

The woman’s story was a meandering one, helped along by some drinking earlier in the evening. Something about a son. Something about a deceased ex – husband or boyfriend, I was never really sure. Something about a guy who beat her up. Something about jail and something about Florida. Tears came at irregular intervals. But she kept talking. Twice we held hands.

Her hair was not combed. Her clothes were not tidy. She didn’t quote Scripture and a few four-letter words spilled out.

The blogger I read wrote that we are to be Jesus to those who need Him. That’s a pretty tall order. It’s a goal worth pursuing, but not one that is readily attainable.

Perhaps it would be better if we attempt to SEE Jesus.

I’m like everyone else. I have my bad attitude days. I can be pretty judgmental, and sometimes, I want it to be just about me. I don’t think I can be Jesus to anyone.

But on Tuesday night, I think I saw Jesus, just for a moment. She had beer on her breath and she held my hand for a moment. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ (Matthew 25)

Three times that night the man asked, would there be room for me. Each time, the response was “Don’t worry brother, we’re going to get everyone in tonight.”

It was a tight squeeze in the end. But everyone got in.

The woman. The man.

And the one who was there with us all.

Sometimes its hard to see Jesus. My own reflection in the mirror blocks my view. Other times, it seems like he stands right in front of you.

Sometimes, He even holds your hand.

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