Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Angels Without Wings

Not all angels have wings.

Let me tell you about two that I met yesterday.

I was on the way to visit someone who is in the hospital, but who is also a prisoner. A police officer sits by his door to make sure he doesn't escape, and to make sure he has no unauthorized visitors. I had the patient's room number written down on a little piece of paper, but when I got inside the hospital, I realized I had left it in my car. So I turned back around with my twelve-year-old daughter who was with me and we made made our way to the parking deck.

When we reached the parking deck elevator, we met two homeless men who were collecting discarded cigarette butts so they could smoke them. They saw a Bible in my hand and asked if I would read to them, because they didn't have a Bible of their own. They introduced themselves to me as Mark and Darren, insisting to me that they weren't gay (even though the thought hadn't entered my mind that they might be). They told me that they were both alcoholics, but were pleased that they had reduced their consumption by half.

I asked if there was a particular scripture that they wanted to hear, and they said Luke 4:18. I'm going to share a larger passage with you, the verses surrounding that scripture:

14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

I gaped at this scripture, because these two homeless men had no idea who I was about to visit--a poor prisoner who needed healing. I told them that they had given me the very words that my friend in the hospital needed to hear.

"We shared our favorite scripture with you," Darren said. "Now you share one with us."

As I read Psalm 139 to them, tears formed in Mark's eyes. He said that these were the very words that he needed to hear--that God made him special and had plans for him, that there was no place he could go where he was apart from God's presence.

We shared many other words together, which quite frankly are none of your business. It's between me and them.

I gave them some money, and what they do with it is none of my business. It's between them and God. God used them to minister to my friend in the hospital, even though they never got to see him. Actually, I never got to see him either--the police officer wouldn't let me in. But he did say that he'd pass a paper along to him for me. I gave him a photocopy from my Bible, of the scripture these two homeless men had given me, along with a note telling the story of Darren and Mark.

What a blessing, that God's Word can go places that we ourselves cannot go. God's Word has the power to bring light to a prisoner's eyes, to give the captive a spiritual freedom that his body does not enjoy, and to bring healing in a hospital--the kind of healing that medicine can't perform!

What a remarkable thing--that God uses the most unlikely of people to share His Word, to be ministers to the brokenhearted, to be wingless angels--messengers of God.

No comments: