I've known George for several years. We first met when he was at Mt. Airy shelter. He came to church a few times, and got his own apartment, but then started drinking again. A couple times since I'd seen him with black eyes and bruises and stitches from being beat up. He's called me several times threatening suicide, and the last time I called the police. Then I told George to call if he wants to talk, but I wasn't responding to any more suicide threats. He continued to drink and get into trouble and still called once in a while to talk. I know God doesn't give up on people, but I'm human, and I have to admit, I was writing George off as hopeless.
I encountered George at Washington Park, and we talked for a bit. He said he was too messed up to be of any use to God. I told him about Moses, David and Paul, all mighty men of God, but also all murderers. And I told him that since he was aware of how messed up he really is, he was a lot more use to God than someone that thinks they have it all together and doesn't need God. I lectured (witnessed??) him on his stubbornness and how the more he sat around feeling sorry for himself, the less he was able to help anyone else. We talked about fear and pride and anger and bitterness and depression, all things that keep us from being close to God and being used by him. We had talked about these things several times before, but nothing had changed. I left him with a prayer and a hug, and as I was walking away, he tipped up the brown paper bag to take a drink of his beer.
A few hours later he called me. He was very excited - maybe overwhelmed is a better word. He had been praying since I left him, and then while in the park, he felt compelled to get down on his knees and pray for a woman there. Compelled, he said. He HAD to do it. And then he said he felt the power of God flowing through him. He said he had never done anything like that before in his life, but it was awesome. He felt so wonderful. He didn't even care about everyone in the park staring at him. He said when they finished praying, she was smiling and she had hope again.
And when he finished praying for her, someone else in the park wanted some prayer. And then another. Each time, he said he felt even better than before. He said, "This is what they NEED down here!" He felt like crying he was so happy! He said he knew that "God's got my back", and that he had nothing to fear down there.
God is so awesome!!!! I don't know why He chooses to take hold of those that I've given up on. I guess he doesn't want me getting a big head thinking that I am actually doing something, and reminding me it's always Him, and only Him.