I counted sheep; I read my bible; I prayed; I tossed and turned; I got up and washed my face. I could not go back to sleep and I did not understand the reason why.
It was the first really cold winter morning. All I wanted to do was curl up under the covers for at least a couple more hours.
I found myself begging God to let me get some more sleep or to at least tell me why I was so reluctantly awake.
I got nothing but silence in return.
I finally crawled out of bed. I put on a cozy pair of furry slippers and decided to step outside. I realized it was the day to put out the trash. In nothing but my PJ’s and my furry slippers I proceeded to pull the huge green trash barrel down to the edge of the road.
From a distance I heard someone say “You better get back inside lady its really cold.”
I ignored the voice until it said the same thing over again.
It was foggy outside—that dull gray fog that comes before it snows. Not in Florida—but anyone who has lived up north knows that look in the sky.
The second time I heard the voice I looked up and down the street to see where it was coming from. To the north a saw the shadow of a very large person with what looked like wings. What? Yes, wings.
I rubbed my eyes hoping to see the image more clearly. Was it a person or some sort of angel? Is this why I couldn’t go back to sleep?
Perhaps it was some sort of divine appointment.
I started back towards the house and then I heard the voice for the third time. I turned around slowly and now saw a person bundled up in a big tan blanket standing at the foot of my driveway.
It was barely daylight. I couldn’t imagine where this person had come from of if the person was even for real. So I slowly engaged in a conversation . . .
“Who are you?” seemed the most logical question to ask.
“I’m Brett,” he responded.
OK, not Gabriel. Probably a human after all.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Trying to get warm,” he answered.
Wow , , , silly question, I thought and then my mind went blank. What do you say next to a total stranger wrapped in a blanket at the end of your driveway when it’s not even 6:00 a.m. below 30 degrees and the coldest day in Florida? It was one of those “what would Jesus do” moments so I invited him inside for breakfast and coffee.
My roommate Anne already had a pot of hot coffee brewing. And the guest, who turned out to be a homeless kid who had been sleeping in a field right down the street, was thrilled that somebody cared enough to offer him a warm cup of brew and some food.
We ended up talking to him, praying with him and ministering to him for almost two hours. He had a lot of pain and bitterness from a broken relationship with a girlfriend but as we prayed I also sensed he was estranged from his mother and very tormented by their lack of communication. My own tears began to flow as I spoke healing and life and forgiveness back into that relationship and encouraged him to call home just to say he was OK. He understood and agreed to do so—this time without asking for money, without saying he was in trouble or on his way to jail and mostly without any expectations and completely unwilling to engage in any type of argument.
All he asked for before he left was a pair of socks. We gave him another blanket. We packed up a duffle bag full of food and hygiene products and then bid our new friend farewell. We hope he called home. We hope he was able to get some reconciliation. We hope he found shelter. We hope we planted some seeds and had even the smallest impact.
The bible says we should be very careful how we treat others because we might be entertaining angels unaware.