**I originally published this post years ago and had to dig deep in the archives to find it. A Facebook thread this morning jogged my memory. I still vividly remember Larry. I haven’t seen him since and I’ve often wondered if he still has the Bible that I marked up.
I hope so.
He sat across from me. A small sandwich and a dab of macaroni and cheese on his plate. He barely ate. He answered my questions with mono-syllables, breathing cigarette smoke and stale beer into my face. And, then the tears came. His tears… mine came later.
“I need help. I just need help,” he quietly cried looking deeply into my eyes.
“You need Jesus, Larry,” I answered with a smile. “Can I pray with you?”
We went to a quiet room… away from his friend whose plate was heaped twelve inches high.
“What’s the matter… you never been saaaved before?” his friend sneered as we walked away.
My eyes darted, frantically looking for my man. I was in over my head and I knew it. I also knew that I needed back-up. My eyes couldn’t find Chad but stopped on my dear friend and pastor.
“I need you,” I said to Doug, in front of his wife… later apologizing for the way that came out… 😉
Larry followed Doug and I into a quiet room. I sat and prayed as I listened to my friend lead this new friend through the plan of salvation.
That’s when it happened.
I blinked. I turned my head. I blinked again. Larry looked different. I can’t explain it… he simply looked younger… softer… something. There was no odor of stale beer and staler cigarettes. There was simply Larry. I saw him differently and for a few minutes, I think I was given a glimpse of how Jesus sees each of us… young, needy, softer.
As Doug directed the conversation, we realized that just a few weeks earlier, Larry had accepted Christ as his Savior. We prayed with him. He cried.
Give him your Bible.
umm… excuse me, are you talking to me, Lord?
my Bible? This Bible? This is the Bible I got after we lost Matthew.
It has all my notes from the past decade in it, God.
but… it has MY name on it… engraved… in gold…
I wish I could say I immediately handed my Bible to Larry. I can’t. I didn’t. Larry left with another friend for a ride to our local homeless shelter.
God, Larry left.
I guess I can’t give him my Bible.
Yes, you can.
Sure enough, Larry returned. The shelter was full. As others gathered to help find Larry and his friend a place for the night, I argued with God.
but… God… it’s MY Bible…
give it to Larry
What I’ve typed as a few sentences took more like 30 minutes. Finally, I couldn’t take the intensity in my heart anymore. I walked outside and handed my Bible to Larry as he was leaving.
“Here, Larry,” I said, “Please… take my Bible. Please start with the book of John. Please know that I am praying every single day this week for you. Go to AA each day, Larry. Come back next Sunday at 10:30 and tell me all about it.”
“Thank you, Heidi,” he said, hugging.. no… gripping the edge of my sleeves in his hands and clinging to the glimpse of hope he saw.
“You’re a good woman, Heidi Kreider!” my friend, John, said as he opened the door for me to go back inside.
“No, John, I’m not,” I managed to squeak out before the flood gates opened.
I cried. I sobbed.
A homeless man and his homeless friend showed up outside the building in which we have church on the one night of the month that we have a carry-in dinner and I was a wreck. That one homeless man and his friend were noticed not by me… not by my man… not by my pastor but by an 11 year old girl who happens to be related to my pastor….
“Dad, dad! There are 2 people outside who need to come in and eat! I think they are homeless.”
Sure enough, out of the mouths of babes. They needed to come in. They did need to eat. They also needed Jesus.
So did I.
I came home and cried some more. Me…the one who found herself on Friday without a working vehicle or a working computer. The one who has complained much about how hard it has been. That same woman came home and sobbed and confessed to my man and to my God. Who am I to complain about what I don’t have when I have so much?
This morning, I found my old Bible… the one with my notes from high school and college. I took it off the shelf where it has sat for 10 years and you know what?
It feels so good in my hands.