I don’t even know what his name was, but others on the street knew him. The first time I saw him he had walked up to Robert* as he and I were talking. He had no regard to the fact that we were talking, he just walked up and began whispering something in Robert’s ear, most likely an expression of his love and need for some drugs. As he walked away Robert had a look of disgust on his face and noted the pathetic-ness of this needy being. Later I spotted him walking with others, who maybe had more promising leads to desired ends. But those paths obviously had not panned out as he hoped because toward the end of our evening as we were standing together with the last of our goods he marched up and quite boldly and shamelessly asked us if any of us wanted to buy some pills from him, he needed money for his own drugs. He was desperate, so much so that it led him to lose all fear. For all he knew we could have been cops, or at least called the cops on him, but he recklessly forgot his fear as it was eclipsed by his need for a fix, the experience of his god. We all just looked at him and said no, and he was off. Jonathan*, a homeless guy who was sitting with us, again with disgust on his face said that guy was nothing but a “piece of shit” and pathetically desperate for asking a bunch of Christians if they wanted to buy drugs.
There was something of this nameless guy’s desperation that was repulsive to the very people who were brothers with him in their addiction and need. Yet there was something of his desperation and need that deeply resonated with me, and I would guess with Robert and Jonathan as well.
As created beings we have a deep need to be filled. At least this guy could be honest about it rather than secretly filling himself with whatever, yet letting everyone else believe he was totally satiated in life. Now in saying that I in no way think that his void could be filled with drugs, it can only be filled with and by… you know where I’m going with this…God.
With that said I think we can still learn something from him. When I said that he lost all fear as I think about it, I don’t think it was that he lost fear, but it was that he feared the wrong thing. He feared his need, his emptiness that was why he was so desperate. I do that. I fear the emptiness in all the different forms it takes in my life and I grasp for whatever is closest to fill it rather than fearing the One who with one breath can fill me with such life and with the same breath destroy me.
How has God become so commonplace, average, predictable, and small to me that even in this article I could so casually refer to His filling and satisfying work in us rather than being in complete awe? How have we diminished and dismissed God, who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do by fearing our emptiness and cowardly filling ourselves rather than celebrating Him and praising His complete faithfulness to us? God give us courage to open our eyes to see our smallness and the grandness of your terror, you who are not safe, but good.
*names have been changed
by Susan Kim