"Pleeeaase help me!", the man at the bridge said with enormous, pleading, teary eyes. "I'm about to jump off this bridge, no one on this earth cares about me." As the smell of beer drifted into my face, I told him we at the bridge cared, that God cared. He kept talking about his mother who died a couple of years ago and how much he missed her and he just wanted to go be with her.
"How old are you" I asked.
"You have your whole life ahead of you" I said to him. Then he preceeds to tell me he has a father and brothers in town but they don't have anything to do with him, they won't help him. He harbors such unforgiveness towards his father. I tell him how destructive unforgiveness can be and it's usually towards the person who is harboring it. I ask him to think about letting it go, giving the hurts over the to the Heavenly Father and moving on. He looked at me with such anguish and said, "It's SO hard!". I shared some personal experiences of my own and how the Lord helped me to let go. Marty continued to look at me with tears and repeated, It's SO hard!
He and I had just met and he was pretty distraught, so I didn't want to push too hard this first time.
He told me he couldn't read or write. I asked him if he wanted to learn. He said yes.
Then he looked at me with those pleading eyes and said "I drink, I know you can smell it on me. It makes me do stupid things. I don't want to do stupid things anymore. I don't want to drink anymore but I don't know how to stop. Will you help me, will you help me?"
My heart was so heavy at this point. I was shivering but not from the cold weather. I was layered in four layers of clothing. It was the demons of Hell who were attacking and I despise what they do. But I and the others wear another layer of protecting, the armour of God. I was praying inside and another volunteer came to listen and comfort and we took his hands hard and prayed hard for this man. I told him I would do what I could. He gave me his phone number but said his minutes were about to run out. I made him promise to come back to the bridge next Tuesday. The other girl and I gave him a long hug. We sent him off with a sleeping bag, blankets, and food. I heard the pleading of Greg's voice in my mind, my sweet friend who didn't make it. "Lord", I prayed out there on the cold bridge, I don't understand, but I trust you. Please help this man."
I put in a call to the director of HOTEL, INC. who made some calls and e-mails. Will you please pray with me for this man, Marty? It's the next day now, and all I can see are those pleading, watery eyes and hearing the desperation and depression in his voice. His tune may change as some do, but I believe only because they are scared.
I'm praying for many Christmas miracles this Christmas season. One of those is for Marty. There are some who would say Marty brought this on himself. I would say to those, who are we to judge? Those who have not sinned, cast the first stone. We have been given the gift of grace and mercy ourselves, how could we not give it to others. This man belongs to a family that does not accept him, for whatever reasons.
Let's let the family of God accept him and pray for him to be shown how to have a better life, to be freed from the demons of alcohol and unforgiveness. May he receive the gift this Christmas of grace and mercy, forgiveness, a new heart, a new love, a new life.
Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I really need it.
A Swedish Proverb