Mental illness, Sexual Assault, Homelessness….these are the few taboo topics people don’t like to speak about,but yet topics that people claim they “understand”. Unless you’ve never faced such circumstances or know someone who has or you’re just a compassionate person…it’s not something to be easily understood.
I’m sure you might say “Sure it is. If that’s the case then how did it happen to them?” It’s easy to take a look at your life and think you did everything “right” to avoid homelessness or sexual assault or mental illness. But did you ever consider it was the mercy of God that you didn’t experience those things? It can be so easy to become arrogant when seeing the misfortune of others play out right in front of you. You think if they could’ve done this or that, they would have never sunk as low as they did. The experiences, the feelings we go through on this Earth are not always dictated by efforts of our own or even with the help of others, but really from God. So, why become arrogant when the blessings bestowed upon you are simply gifts of God’s grace? Why become arrogant on topics or situations you’ve (been blessed) never dealt with? It is not to say that those who undergo hardships do not experience God’s grace. Yes those who face hardships and hurdles, do not experience God’s grace…it’s different than you what you think it is….and it is not meant for your understanding. However, knowing human nature, some people can get real worked up about the things they don’t, but wish to understand.
God gives us grace for season and every need. I’ve learned that for the nearly two weeks. When I got food whether it was from a soup kitchen or a food bank or from a friend, I was always grateful. If the food lasted for that moment or day or a week I was happy. Being one who lives with a generalized anxiety disorder and always peering in the the next weeks, months or years, I learned (indirectly) to live day by day. It’s kinda what it said in the Bible
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more value than they?”
Matthew 6:26 NKJV
“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefor do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:30-33 NKJV
Man…it’s really hard to live on the Bible, but reflecting on those passages is what kept me going and what kept me humble and happy. I was literally and figuratively eating my daily bread. Don’t get me wrong though, I still had my worries, but thinking about the passages helped me not to be completely forlorn.
A couple days ago, I was waiting in line 5 days ago at a local church for a motel voucher (I thought it was going to be a 30-45 day voucher, but it was a one day voucher) and I met some other people waiting in line. Some looked they’ve been living off the streets for a while and some like me, quite recently. However, because my clothes make me look like a million bucks, you’d probably thought I was a volunteer more than someone who was just recently homeless. Man…the stories some people had…. One woman became recently because her husband who was the sole breadwinner of their family, passed away recently. Then another woman has been on the streets for awhile, she has a family in a distant state, but because California has better medicare coverage for her disability than in her mother’s state she doesn’t want to leave. She hopes her mom will come to live in California instead. I met two other guys, who were war Veterans, but due to their severe disabilities and the incompetence Veteran’s Affairs Department, they didn’t get the supplemental help they needed. One of them was even a purple heart recipient, but what good use is a piece of metal if they can’t even have access the basic care, afford where they live and get the job that helps them take care of themselves and/or their families?
- Before, I became homeless, I was never judgmental on how people became homeless, because I knew it could happen to anybody. I also knew because of a family friend it happened to. I was friends with his kids when I was a child. He was a well-to-do guy. He had a pretty good job at a bank, he owned a nice home, owned really nice cars–I believed he owned three luxury cars and he also sold cars in Nigeria. Then one day…everything changed. He lost his position, business, his home and cars…eventually he became mentally ill and after he was released from the mental institution, he was on the street. I remembered him showing up to my family’s doorstep. Aw man…he looked very disheveled and morbid. This was a complete 360 from the man I remembered as a child who was always happy and upbeat. He was always a hardworking man, who provided for his family. It was then I knew mental illness and homelessness could happen to anybody irregardless how good their life was or because they have a job. It can happen to anybody.
When I was in the line, I was so touched just how their faith was in God. They weren’t blaming Him for their circumstance, but they thanked He for grace He gave them, even if it was for the $40 they panhandled for 6 hours. One way or another their faith in God was something I don’t see in a lot of people. I mean…talk about faith being tested. Nobody complained. They were just grateful for wherever the help came from. And man…most of them were resourceful, just as much as I was! I never thought I could meet such people! One lady was just telling me about another church that also offered a motel voucher and telling me about how I could apply for that voucher for once a month. Sheesh…only once a month??? Why not have a motel voucher that lasts a whole month??? That way maybe people could make it off their feet by the time the month finishes so they can see if they can rent a room somewhere??? But…it’s not the church’s fault. They’re are doing the best they can with the best of resources they have.
Shelters…sheesh are hard to get access too! The one’s I’ve contacted either have waiting lists or filled up or I have to wait for a three tier interviewing process. I was so close to getting a shelter, but because they had no more space for cars and I need to have my car in hopes of attaining work, I declined. Things are really hard out there. The job market still sucks and the housing market well…sucks too. This is just wrong. People should have the right to have easy access to work and afford where they live. You should be able to apply for work without the need of having “100 years” of said experience under your belt, just because employers don’t want to pay to train their workers. People should be able to work any job and get paid as full-time status with benefits. People should able to live within their means. Unfortunately especially since Trump took over office, his administration has cut off or reduced services (via the “budget”) that help fund local organization that help individuals and/or the families. It also doesn’t help that there’s not a lot of funding to help needy individuals and families.
If you are a Christian or want to better understand Christianity, it’s easy think that Christianity will keep you out of harm’s way, but it doesn’t. Christianity isn’t some sort of “magic spell” that will hide you from the troubles of this world. In fact, where in the Bible has it ever mentioned Christianity ever will? The Bible most of time cautions us to be weary of our hearts, how we treat others, and not lose our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Yes you will display your human tendencies, but no matter what to always be faithful to God. You know what that reminds me….during the past week of me being homeless I never stopped believing in God. I was just really mad at him. So mad in fact, I stuck my tongue out at him. God didn’t stop being real to me, because troubles became to be really difficult to me. Heck…it didn’t stop the people I was in the line with from believing in God either. Praising God shouldn’t be just when things are going well for us, but even if you have fallen on hard times too.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Unlike the human world, God’s grace isn’t based on whether you’re working or homelessness or the like. He just gives it to us, just ’cause He can. It’s not based on circumstances. Human beings would do that to others, but God doesn’t. He wants to see us improve and make our way in the world, but just as long as you He acknowledge that it was His grace and mercy that got you there. Again it can be easy that decent living is based on purely success, but it is really God dictating your success…your happiness, your roof over your head. So the next time you decide to chasitise a person on where they are in their life based on the blessing of you not undergoing though the same pain and/or frustration, know that it is God with His hand over you helped bestow your good life; because who knows what decisions or your temperament would’ve been like if it weren’t for him.