How Do You Heal the Ache in Your Heart? Lesson #1 From the Homeless

His name is Rudy.  

I met him at a local park where Christians had come together to feed the homeless. He noticed my clipboard and asked me what I was doing as he made his way through the serving line. 

“I’m writing an article about this ministry for a local Christian magazine,” I told him.  “Would you be willing to talk to me about what this ministry means to you?” I asked.  He said yes, and we agreed to meet in a grassy area somewhat removed from the serving tables.

Rudy was a man of average height with clear blue eyes and a weathered face.  He seemed comfortable, even eager to talk with me that night.

“Rudy,” I said, “I’d like to hear your story.” That was all the prompting he needed to begin.

As we sat there that night, surrounded by people society would like to throw away, I heard a tale that is all too familiar.  Sadly, this tale is not reserved for homeless men who sleep in parks.  With a few minor adjustments, it is the tale of every man and woman who has ever walked the streets of our world.  Whether they eat in the finest cafes in New York or out of a dumpster in a back alley, Rudy’s story belongs to mankind.  It is the story of an aching heart.

“I grew up the oldest son of six children,” Rudy began.  “When I was ten, my parents died. The six of us were sent to a children’s home. Because I was the oldest, I knew I had to look out for my younger brothers and sisters.  I fought a lot, ‘cause it was the only way I knew to take care of them.”

“I started to drink when I was twelve.  I got messed up in drugs after that,” he said to me, his clear blue eyes meeting mine in shared sorrow.  

“I got involved in crime,” he said, lowering his eyes. “I got 20 years.  While I was there, I said, ‘No more.’"

To fill the ache inside, Rudy had turned to fighting, then to alcohol, then to drugs. One sin led to the next until he found himself where he never intended to be.  From that hole, He looked up into the face of Christ and discovered a Man who knew all about him and loved him anyway. 

“I waited patiently for the Lord,
and he turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He brought me up from a desolate pit,
Out of the mirey clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
Making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
A hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
And put their trust in the Lord.
How happy is the man
Who has put his trust in the Lord.”  (Psalm 40:1-4)

“I talked to Scott (the ministry coordinator) and asked Christ to be my Savior,” he confessed, lifting his eyes again in determination, "and I haven’t drank in 6 weeks.  I grew up blaming God, but the rough times made me realize I needed God.”

“I still live on the street,” he said with a shrug, “but I know now God's gonna give me the strength I need to get through.”

Our aches may not be as obvious as Rudy’s, but they are there nonetheless. They are open, empty places that we try to fill with everything but God. We may not use alcohol or drugs, or we might.  We may use friends, our position at work, or the stuff we buy.  We may seek to find our worth and bury our demons behind bank accounts or relationships or even altruistic acts.  

Paschal described it so eloquently:

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there, the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

King David found the way to heal the ache, the way to fill the void. He found it in the person of Jesus Christ.  

Rudy found it too. 

If you do not know Christ as your Savior, the Healer of your heart and the Lover of your soul, you can know him today.  Click on the link at the top, “Do You Know God?”  It will be the best decision you will ever make in your life, and one that you will never regret.

If you do know Christ as your Savior, I challenge you to open up the aching places in your heart to His healing touch.  He wants to fill those places with his peace, his love, his healing, and his forgiveness.  He is waiting for you to let him in.

Christ said in Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to  the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;"  

Christ came for Rudy.   He came for me.  He came for you. If you can say with Rudy, “The rough times made me realize I need God,” then you have taken the first step.  I look forward to sharing the rest of the journey with you as we walk the faith walk.


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