March 1, 2006

Number 14

The day started off with a bang. From the moment the door opened at 10 a.m. Monday morning, the waiting room was full. I began to process the clients as quickly as I could. There was no time to waste.

“Number 14,” I called. A man shuffled his way onto the seat in front of my desk. He looked tired, disheveled and forlorn.

“How are you?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he mumbled.

“Is something wrong, Dennis?”

“Well, yeah. I fell and hurt this foot eight months ago, and it just won’t heal,” he replied.

“Do you believe in God?”

“I know there is a higher power out there, but I don’t believe that He cares about us humans,” he said. As we chatted, I sensed a sadness in his voice. Although there were more clients waiting to be processed, I felt an urgency to continue our conversation.

Someone in the waiting room began to murmur, “What is taking so long?”

A man answered him, “This is where you can get spiritual counseling too.”

Back at my desk, I turned to Dennis and asked him if he had a Bible. He did. He knew the story of the flood and who Jesus was. But he couldn’t believe that it was true. How could it be? How could a loving God allow such suffering? He was homeless. Where could he go? There was nothing for him to look forward to but pain and misery.

I opened my Bible and began to read. “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you -- Dennis -- and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you -- Dennis -- unto Myself, that where I am, there ye -- Dennis -- may be also.” *

Dennis began to cry. Tears flowed freely down his parched cheeks. Was Jesus really preparing a place for him in heaven? It seemed too good to be true. We prayed together. Then he took his seat at the waiting room.

“Number 15,” I called. A middle-aged lady sauntered over to my desk.

“It was beautiful,” she said to me.

“I beg your pardon?”

“What you said to that man. I heard every word,” the lady said. “The Holy Spirit was with you."

*John 14:1-3