Yesterday, at the 1 By Youth Outreach, Stacey Hildner and I took Legacy members to Burger King during lunch break. Sweaty and sweltered, we sauntered into the restaurant, needing a reprieve from the morning’s work. But what started as a respite would turn into something far greater.
Ten minutes into our stay, an elderly man limped to a seat right across from Stacey and I. Immediately our attention connected with his apparent pain. Without hesitation, Stacey and I begun a conversion with him. As we carried on the dialogue, we soon discovered the real brokenness came not in his body, but in his heart.
William had just lost his wife. He lacked a car, connections with eight children and a physical remedy. The one daughter who lived locally had a house on the other side of town. However, his multiple leg conditions were only worsening with time, so he simply did not have the strength to walk the miles to visit her.
William’s demeanor was sweet and sincere. The tears streaming down his face revealed a yearning for answers and a thirst for breakthroughs. But the greatest void came from within. What William truly needed was hope.
Prior to our conversation, he had waited many times for a “saint” to ignite life back into him. On numerous occasions, William would walk into Burger King in search for fulfillment, but would leave emptier than before.
But on this day, that would all change.
To our delight, Stacey and I continued to absorb William’s vulnerability. We learned about his mistakes, greatest joys, and the ups and downs of 60 years living in the Music City. William also showed signs of a belief in God, having quoted back to us a fair amount of memorized scriptures.
Eventually talk turned into prayer, and suddenly Burger King became an altar. We prayed for the Lord’s strength, comfort and peace to fill William, reminding him that God is always in the business of blessing those who mourn. We also told him that God is attracted to the downcast, since his strength is made perfect in weakness. By prayer’s end, William’s smile was coming back again, his complexion radically changed. As we parted ways, we invited him to the 1 By Youth block party. He told us he would likely come.
What seemed like twenty minutes turned out to be sixty, and as we stepped back out in the sun, Stacey and I knew we had experienced one of many divine appointments God sets up every day. The opportunity served as an excellent testimony to the youth who witnessed this episode unfold. The greatest thrill, apart for accepting Christ, is spreading God’s love to others. To live is Christ, to die is gain. And in the middle of it all is love, the greatest gift of all.