Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I was underneath the 640 by pass bridge in Knoxville this past Wednesday night, like I am most Wednesday nights. We serve anywhere from a hundred to 200 of the homeless community, a hot meal every Wednesday night. We also give out clothing, medical treatment, dental work and various other services.
This past Wednesday night, I glanced up from the desert table, where I usually work, and saw a girl walking across the vast lot where we set up each week. She had on her underpants and a skimpy top but nothing else! Just when I think I won't be surprised down there, I am! I noticed her walk by several times and I kept looking at those underpants and the bulges on her body. As she got a little closer, I also noticed big sores all over her legs.
As we finished up the evening and I was wiping down the tables, I glanced up once more and saw her.
I say "I saw her", but I really didn't. I only looked at her from the waist down!
When I got home, I asked the guys if they saw the girl under the bridge with only her underpants on. They both said, "Yes. It was April!" I said "no, it wasn't." They both said, "Yes it was!"
I have known April for many many years...probably 10 at least. I have seen her deteriorate out there on the street. She was a beautiful young girl when I first met her. Drugs and prostitution have just about destroyed her. Several times I thought I had talked her into going into rehab. She always backed out at the last minute.
I have never seen her in this bad a shape before. Her legs were covered with open, running sores. I expect the rest of her body was too. But.....I never looked past her legs. I never bothered to look into her face. For that I am ashamed.
She usually comes up to me the first thing when she is under the bridge. She hasn't been down there for several months. Maybe she didn't come up to me this time because she was ashamed. The place is big enough that a person can hide if they want to. Maybe she saw me NOT looking at her and stayed away.
Our Lord never looks on the outward appearance. He always looks on the heart. He does not PROSOPOLEMPSIA... the greek word for being a "respecter of persons."
This word also means "to lift up the face". In other words, HE does not come and put his hand under our chin, lift it up and look deep into our face and decide whether or not to love us. He looks deep into our heart.
I never even bothered to look into April's face.