I’ve been playing hide-and-seek with a homeless man for weeks!
My friend’s exasperation came out in heavy puffs of steam as she spoke, sighed and tried to catch her breath. I was freezing and had basically forced my friend to run around as we scoured downtown Boise. We had traversed streets, alleys, stairwells and any other nook that a person trying to avoid the weather might tuck into.
Snow had been falling for quite some time. It was beginning to erase the smaller, easily hid features of the city. I, like a genius was wearing my gray canvas Toms. They don’t keep moisture out and can’t keep heat in. I was afraid that much more time in the city and its snow would cost me a toe or two.
We rounded another corner and entered a long, tiled hallway. Bright lights glared at us from the many storefronts contained in our ceramic cavern. I was grateful to be out of the snow, even for a minute. I pulled my glasses off my face, unzipped my coat and began wiping the moisture from my lenses with my shirt. We scampered to the other side without encountering another person, much less the Renegade we desired to see.
My hands hid in my gloves. My friend had tucked her right hand up into her sleeve. Her left protruded from her jacket with white knuckles clenched around a Walmart grocery bag. It contained a large winter coat she had purchased for a homeless man she had repeatedly seen downtown. Now that he needed it the most, he had made himself invisible. This was her third attempt at delivering her gift to the man who could not be found. I was along for the ride and to make sure that she didn’t have to talk to a strange man all by herself.
RE-NE-GADE! Where are you?
She laughed halfway through yelling. He was probably at the shelter. It opened earlier in the winter to get people out of the cold. They wouldn’t let her give her gift specifically to this man though, as the shelter liked to dole out necessities and place requirements on those at the receiving end. I was alright with this, but my friend desperately desired to make this gift personal. It was her fancy to have this man to know that somebody cared for him. She wanted him know that Jesus loves him.
We ran around until my dejected friend had to go to work. The Walmart bag landed in the back seat, where it would stay until her next expedition into downtown Boise. Driving back, we prayed for our homeless man. We made declarations of his safety, health and most importantly, his salvation before she dropped me off at my car.
Somewhere out there, a man who calls himself Renegade needs a coat. He has one waiting for him. He has a girl who cares deeply about him, who has made several attempts to help him and funny enough, he doesn’t even know it. How much more is he loved by the God who created Him? How much less aware is he of the Providence that gave him life, the Providence that’s currently using my friend as a source of provision?
Eventually, Renegade will be discovered.
He’s going to get a lot more than a coat when that happens.