There are some things in life I will never understand like why, in an affluent society such as ours, finding help for the homeless is so difficult. After spending hours last night talking with a homeless friend and trying through a crisis center and friend in ministry to locate resources to help her, I went to bed frustrated and hurt that I couldn't find a shelter for her even in a town as big as Memphis. This friend simply doesn't fit in the right category or meet the criteria for many of the programs and agencies in place yet her needs are real and beyond the scope of anything Steve and I have been able to offer her. Though we are genuinely concerned and have done what we can in the past, there is nothing we can do with our move taking place in less than two weeks. Besides, she needs more than a blanket or a night's lodging in a cheap hotel. She needs hope for real and lasting change.
There are many homeless people like our friend who are disabled and unable to work, who struggle understandably with bitter and skeptical attitudes after living for years on the streets as this friend has. They reach the place where they feel as if they have been abandoned not only by God but the entire human race. Like my friend, many call for help but are refused because preference is given to women with children rather than without, or to those who could possibly work once trained rather than to those physically disabled or mentally challenged. Once refused they give up hope and cease trying to find a solution. What about them? Where can they go to get the help and find the hope they need to live?
This friend didn't choose homelessness; it was thrust upon her as a result of physical disabilities, loss, and brokenness in her family. With no family, friends, or church to turn to, she is desperate. Where is the hope for homeless ones like her who can offer nothing yet have such great needs?
I know the Bible says that the poor will always be among us and we can help them any time we want (Mark 14:7), but what happens to them when nobody wants to help or the help that we do provide amounts to nothing more than a band aid on a gaping wound that may never heal?
How can we turn their plight and our heartbreak over it into meaningful action that will result in real help? Are we so wrapped up in our problems that we are simply oblivious to their desperate need?
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