Working with people who are poor or homeless can be a challenge: there is great satisfaction and fulfillment, but it can be hard when we see how our friends often struggle to survive. We have no right to complain, because we will leave the downtown core and head back to our own homes, lives and ‘other’ responsibilities.
It is a much larger challenge to continue to live on the streets. That’s why, I think, people who call the streets their home have so much to offer. They are often examples to me in many ways: in generosity, community, loyalty and even faith – in many respects they leave me at the starting blocks by comparison.
Their lives and our ministry are similar: both are hanging by a thread.
Not just a ‘thread’, but a thread that is frayed and seemingly ready to give way at any moment. Any major catastrophe or even small breath of wind would bring everything to a standstill in a second.
I marvel at the tenacity and perseverance and strength of character that enable our friends to survive. I wonder at the strength of the human will that at the last possible moment, when all seems black and lost and abandoned, rises up and — and makes a last ditch recovery.
The ministry is something like that too, in some ways.
Hanging by a thread. Both give a distinct impression and appearance of immanent disaster, a perception that even the slightest breeze will break the thread and all will be lost.
But the appearance of the thread is quite different that the reality. While it appears frayed and weak, broken and disintegrating, in the core of the thread is a titanium wire that is capable of withstanding the worst of storms.
That centre is faith in God, the power of love, the strength of justice and the spirit of a man/ woman/ ministry that refuses to give in, give up or die.
Where there is life there is hope.
Never quit. Never give up. Never.