I will never forget the look in his eyes. As I stared deep into them… it was as if they had this unexplainable sparkle. I will never forget them…
I asked him his name. He said, “Keith.” I asked if he was hungry and cold. Looking down to the ground, he said, “Yes.”
My family recently spent a month and a half, 900 miles away from home. We traveled from Georgia to New York City in order for my husband to do insurance work for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. What a great adventure! It was very challenging and stressful at times but we were determined to make the most of it and make a difference in the life of others while we were there. We wanted to find great purpose in the Lord calling us to pack up and move away from our comfort zone. We wanted to do our part in being the light of Christ while we were there.
Matthew 5:14-16: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Our journey opened the door for us to attend a really great church while living in the city. The best way to get to Hillsong NYC church was by subway. Our kids loved it! They thought the subway was super cool. And in their minds, they saw really “cool” things while riding on the subway. On the subway and at the subway stations, my children were introduced to the concept of homeless people. They stared and asked many questions. I did my best to explain their situation to my children on a level that they could comprehend. Week after week they would encounter them as we got on and off of the subway. The Lord placed a burden in our hearts for these people that He created and loved. We decided to purchase blankets, gloves,crackers, water and prepare food for those who may be less fortunate than us.
The weekend before Christmas, my mom came to visit. That Sunday night she decided to stay behind at the apartment (she had fallen that day and hurt her knee) while we went to church. Two of our children decided to stay with her, but our 6 year old Jacob wanted to come with Jeff and I to Hillsong NYC.
We had just purchased the blankets and other items that day so we thought we would go ahead and take a bag full with us because we knew there were several homeless people who “camped out” at the subway station near church.
That is where we encountered Keith. He lie there on the ground, head covered with old blankets and tarps, trying to sleep and stay warm. There were several old, half eaten containers of sandwiches and food that he more than likely had found in the garbage. To others this was just left-overs, they didn’t want to eat and tossed. He salvaged this food and even saved part of it so he could eat later on. The sight of this man and his few belongings made me so sad.
He woke up and looked up at us. We offered him blankets and food. He was so excited to have someone talk to him, provide for him, and even acknowledge that he existed.
I asked if I could pray for him. He said, “Yes.” I asked him his name. He said “Keith.” I stood there, holding the hand of my precious son, Jacob, and looked into the eyes of Keith. Despite the layers of old blankets, dirty skin, scraggly beard, stench of smell, and hair that had not been washed in a long time… his eyes sparkled. I could see life in them. I could see hope, restoration and forgiveness in the eyes of Keith. Without seeing them for yourself, you may not be able to understand, but I saw a glimpse of heaven in Keith’s eyes. I could not wait to pray for Keith. I prayed for his life that was a treasure to the Lord. For the Lord to bring healing, restoration and provision. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I prayed truth of the love of Christ over this man. Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
I must confess, I really didn’t want to close my eyes while praying, for I didn’t want to take my eyes off of this mysterious man that the Lord had allowed us to encounter. I finished praying, and he was thankful. We said our good byes and my husband, son and I walked away.
His name was Keith. His eyes sparkled. I will never forget the hope I saw as I glared into them. I can’t help but pray that I will see those eyes again one day in heaven. On a day when he and I will both be healed, restored, redeemed, free and sitting in the glory of the Glorious One!
Hebrews 13:2 (NASB): Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Isaiah 61:1-2 (NIV): The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.