There is a homeless man living in my dumpster.
It isn’t really my dumpster. It belongs to my boss and sits in our office parking lot. Nevertheless, for the past week, a man has been living in that dumpster.
You hear about that kind of thing often enough-homeless people on the street, people living, literally, in garbage.
It is cold out. Really truly cold-mid teens (Fahrenheit) and a brisk wind has been blowing all week with intermittent bits of Christmas snow.
If I was living in an episode of a one hour t.v. drama, I would invite the man home, give him a hot shower and warm meal and he would be all better by the time the credits rolled. Funny thing though about real life-it doesn’t work that way. In real life, you can actually feel how cold it is standing by that dumpster. And I can hear him moving about in there when I walk past-it isn’t a safe picture behind a screen. It is real.
My office is right next to the largest homeless shelter in the city. And yet this man has chosen the dumpster. The shelter will let in anyone who is not visibly intoxicated or noticeably under the influence of drugs. And because the great majority of homeless persons are mentally ill, the 50 yards between that dumpster and the warm shelter might be an incomprehensible distance. I don’t know.
I just. don’t. know.
When I was a little girl, I thought my daddy knew everything there was to know. No one had a better daddy. In my mind, he had all the answers, could solve all the puzzles, understood all the explanations. I distinctly remember times when growing up he would say to me, “I just don’t know, Erin. I don’t have all the answers.” I actually got this response a lot-it had to be drilled into me that he truly didn’t have all the answers. I was not quick to accept.
I now know that I was looking to the wrong father when searching for ALL the answers. My heavenly father knows. He knows everything about that man in the dumpster. Funny thing is that I can ask him WHY all day long and rarely, to be honest with you, do I hear him answer me.
Scripture tells us that we aren’t meant to understand-that God’s ways are not our ways and that we aren’t meant to saddle ourselves with the heavy yoke of the unknown. And you know what? That is hard! I just want one of my daddies to explain to me: death, cancer, drugs, the lost. Because today it is Christmas-time and it is frigid cold and I hear a human being rolling around on top of discarded papers and food remnants every time I enter or leave my building. I want to know where his parents are; where are his friends? Where are you, Lord?
As I walk by the dumpster, my unborn son kicks from within and I am sure that God knitted together the very being of the homeless man as He is knitting together my precious son. Do I understand the suffering that created the chasm between these two children of God? No. And I have been wrestling with this all week.
Then, last night on my drive home from work, I heard Him answer. Not in the way I might have chosen and I sure wish I could have climbed in his lap and hugged him close the way I can with my daddy here on earth-you know, to ask follow-up questions and prod for an explanation that makes sense to me, here and now, with my incomplete understanding.
And yet, there He spoke. In the words of a song that He inspired, in the words of a song He knew I would hear before the musician recorded one note on paper: some say there is no hope at all but His love is strong. In a world that would drown out His sound of hope, it will be the voice that leads us home.
Did you catch that?
(click above to listen to the video on Youtube)
Some say we need a miracle
Some say there is no hope at all
But I know your love is strong, it goes on and on and on and on
Rise up when it gets us down
It’ll be the voice in a blaring crowd
Because we know your love will lead us home
It goes on and on and on and on
Walk in hope and wear your faith like a shield, friends. Some say there is no hope at all, but we know better.
His love will lead us home.