Fresh from our Saturday morning garage sales, Vicki, Jo and I pulled up to the light, and waited for it to turn green. When I glanced around, I saw a man huddled in a heap of ragged blankets sitting on a bench. His eyes were dazed—his hair a nest on his head. I knew the Lord wanted me to speak to him—to let him know that God had not given up on him, even if this man had given up on himself.
We pulled into the driveway behind him and pooled our money. Out of the car with an orange, bottle of water and cash in hand, I approached him cautiously, and stood by the bench. He must not have heard me coming because when he looked my way he was clearly startled.
“Hi. My name’s Kay. What’s yours?”
“Isaac.” He was maybe thirty five, and under all that mess and grime, I could see he had once had a handsome face.
“Here’s some water and an orange. Sorry that’s all we have right now.”
He smiled, and reached up. “Thank you. Thank you, ma’am.”
Then he let loose with a stream of stories from his childhood. They were funny tales of happy times when he was a spoiled only child. How long has it been since he’s talked with anyone? I wondered.
“How long have you been doing this?” I asked, bracing myself for the answer.
“Ten years.” My eyes fell to the ground as he shuffled his feet. That’s when I saw the outline of two six-packs wrapped in plastic grocery bags. I slid the money back in my pocket. As he watched I said, “Isaac, that money was for you, but I can’t give it to you now.” His bloodshot eyes looked up at me. “My friends and I will go and get you some food, but we can’t give this money to you. Do you understand?”
“Oh, yes ma’am, I do. I wouldn’t give me money either.”
Silence hung between us, like the center of night. Finally I said, “Isaac, would you like to ask the Lord to come and live in your heart today? Have you ever done that?”
“No ma’am, I never have. I think that would be fine.”
So, right there at the corner of 34th and Cortez we held hands, and he repeated after me the invitation for salvation known as The Sinner’s Prayer. Then I looked him in the eye for a full minute. God’s peace had silenced us.
A New Creation
Finally, I said, “I want you to know that you are a new creation now, Isaac. The Bible says that in your spirit, the old has gone, the new has come. You will never be the same. I believe God will lead you out of this life into the new one He has planned for you.”
We drove to McDonald’s and brought back burgers and fries. How he smiled at the sight of that red, white and gold bag! “Isaac,” I said as I handed him his lunch, “you don’t have to live like this.”
“I don’t know if I can I do anything else now.”
“You can. You will. Trust God. He knows the way.”
* * *
I drive past that corner every day or two. I haven’t seen Isaac since that Saturday in January. Some would say, “He’s just changed benches. He’s still out there somewhere.”
I say, “No. God’s got hold of him now. He’s a new creation. Jesus has shown Isaac the way out of His darkness and into God’s glorious light!”
…if anyone is in Christ…the old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
* * *
Note: I do not subscribe to the notion that having faith alone is all that is necessary for healing to take place, although it certainly can be in some cases. With Saving Isaac, the aspect I wanted to emphasize was that with his salvation came God’s leading to help him find the resources he would need in order to overcome his addiction and/or mental illness. Did Isaac find his way to a new life in Christ? My faith says, “Yes!”