By Sharon Altman
Recently my husband Wayne and I were on a trip to Chicago – what a fantastic city! Millennium Park, the Riverwalk and the Magnificent Mile. More Shopping and restaurants than you can imagine, and sadly, many homeless and destitute people living on the street as well.
One afternoon, when Wayne was in meetings, I set off to explore the city. I was told I just HAD to have the Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano’s for lunch. Far be it from me to go against that good advice, I made my way down Michigan Avenue.
There were throngs of people on the Magnificent Mile, the shopping mecca of Chicago. While walking I passed many of the forgotten, faceless, nameless people on the street. I heard him before I saw him… a jangling of change in a cup, the sign that said “Could you please help me?” I made a mental note of where he was on the street.
Later, as I sat eating my pizza, God put it on my heart to save some of my lunch for that man on the street. Not my leftovers but half of the lunch that I could have eaten. Right now, writing this, I don’t know why that was so important but I listened. I had my server package the salad and pizza separately adding plastic ware and a napkin.
The afternoon was beautiful! I decided to walk away from the crowds on Michigan Avenue. I strolled down side streets feeling like one of the locals headed back to work or to an appointment. Here the neighborhood was getting quieter.
A lone figure leaned up against a wall with a sign that said “just hungry”. My heart clinched… God, what do you want me to do NOW? I can tell you I was VERY annoyed. I thought, I can’t help them all! Do I divide up this food? Do I give to the first or second one? I was trying to do the math, I was trying to figure it all out on my own when I heard that still, small voice that said… just ask me. I had an immediate sense of calm.
I quietly asked God, what is your will? Then I listened. I was immediately reminded of the scripture that says that everything the Pharisees do are for people to see. (Matthew 23:5 NIV) So there with no one watching, on that quiet street, I met Rodger.
I asked him if I could sit with him a while and if he might like some pizza that I had saved. Yes ma’am to both. I asked Roger how he came to live in Chicago and he told me of a road trip long ago with his kids. I told him that my Mom was from Chicago and I had always wanted to visit. We chatted a while longer then I asked If I could pray with him. Yes ma’am. When I stood to leave I told Roger that I hoped the rest of his day was good! He said, “I think it will be.”
I share this not to pat myself on the back, but for what I learned that day… I learned that God won’t always give a black and white answer. I might not hear a clear yes or no. But if I listen, God will ALWAYS put the answer on my heart…he is faithful. While I know God used me to bless Rodger that day, he also used Rodger to bless me.