Author: Kelly Shor
With only five dollars to his name, Jon went to a nearby homeless shelter to spend the night. When he arrived, the mean security guard turned him away because there was no more room. As Jon turned around with giant tears in his eyes, he saw a bright light. As he squinted, he saw a man dressed in white that shone brightly under the dimly lit street lamp.
At first, Jon thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. “Surely that was no God!” he thought as he tried to bring himself to his senses. Jon blinked twice thinking his hunger must have made him hallucinate. However, he realized he was not hallucinating once the stranger stretched his hand toward Jon and called him by name.
He looked around but no one seemed to notice the stranger who stood quietly and shined brightly in their midst. It became obvious to him that he was the only one who could see this person. With curiosity taking the better side of him, Jon boldly approached him. He was determined to know who he was and more importantly, how he knew his name.
“Welcome Jon”, the stranger said in a calm voice with a smile on his face.
Jon could not remember the last time someone said his name. Usually, he was referred to as the homeless guy or the street boy. He also could not recall the last time someone smiled at him and that alone made him feel queasy. He spent many cold nights on the streets if the shelter reached capacity and many days rummaging the trash for makeshift meals. On rare lucky occasions, he would find a job that paid for that day. This allowed him to buy a decent meal. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side nowadays.
“W-who are you? H-how did you know my name?” said Jon. He was unsure if it was the cold that made him stutter or his nerves.
“I Am.” That was all the stranger said which left Jon more puzzled.
“He is? He is what or who exactly? Who addresses themselves that way? Doesn’t he have a last name? Where did he come from? How did he know my name? “Jon wondered.
At that moment, Jon did not seem hungry anymore. He was more preoccupied with where this person came from.
“Do not be troubled Jon. I have known you before you were born,” the stranger mentioned calmly.
Jon’s eyebrows knitted together because he could not comprehend this information. Weirdly enough, something about him made Jon feel peaceful in his presence.
Jon finally found his voice, though barely audible, and asked, “What do you mean… you know me?”
“I’ve watched your every step and I have your name written in the palm of my hands. I won’t forsake you.”
“You won’t forsake me? I think it’s already too late for that Mister. I don’t know how you know me but I’ve been forsaken from the time I was born,” Jon said with a broken voice and tears stinging his eyes.
“I’m here to help you Jon.”
Jon’s eyes widened and waited for the stranger to continue.
“I am what you need.”
Jon smirked as he said, “You can’t even provide for my needs right now. I need food to eat.”
“I am the bread of life.”
Jon raised an eyebrow and continued, “I need a place to rest for the night.”
“Come unto me all who are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.”
Jon was shocked at his reply. He did not fully understand the stranger but he felt the need to keep sharing his problems in hope that a solution would come about. He simply wanted a place to lay his head for the night and prayed this stranger could help him.
“I need a job.” Jon said.
“I am the Way.”
Feeling defeated, Jon kept silent for a while. He did not have much strength left to continue the conversation in this cold weather. If the stranger had something to offer him, he was willing to take it. If it would keep him warm and sheltered, he was willing to do anything the stranger asked of him.
“What do you want from me?” Jon asked in a quivering voice.
“I need you to believe Jon. Believe in me. Always believe I will never forsake you. I will always be with you, because I love you Jon. You can meet and talk with me through my book, the Bible. I will always be ready to listen whenever you feel lonely.”
Jon’s face fell and he felt something break within him. He was instantly filled with so much unexplainable peace, joy and comforting emotions. Hearing this stranger say, ‘I love you’ filled Jon’s emptiness and his eyes began to well up with uncontrollable tears. He was not sure who the stranger was but he knew he was more than an angel. When he finally composed himself and looked up, the stranger was gone. Jon noticed another man leave his car and head towards him.
“Are you Jon? My name is Sam”, the man said softly.
Jon nodded with tears still swimming in his eyes.
“He said I would find you here and that you needed to find the Way. Will you come with me? I have a place for you to stay tonight and a warm meal that was prepared just for you,” Sam said with loving compassion in his eyes.
Jon nodded with gratefulness in his heart. He walked with Sam with the hope of having all he asked but he knew deep down that he needed to believe in the words of the stranger.
For the first time in his life, Jon felt happy about being alive. He knew things would soon change for the better if only he believed.