Time for staff devotions at the Lighthouse Mission. As I made my way to the Drop-In Center, I had a million things going on in my head. Work to do in the office, errands to run on my way home… did I feed the dog before I left the house… did I feed the fish?!?
I joined my fellow staff members in the small circle of chairs set up in the room. Around us, Drop-In Center guests continued with their activities. Some were getting coffee, some taking a rest for a while either sitting by a table or finding a place on the floor with their collection of everything they owned. A couple played with their small dog in the corner. Some of the folks were just stopping by, some had visited many times before. It didn’t matter. This was a safe place.
We started singing praise songs led by a staff member and her guitar. Today I had chosen a chair facing the open room and I watched the people there as we sang. A couple of guys sitting at a table looked bored. Another was checking his phone. Some people were not listening at all, but were fast asleep on a mattress on the floor.
I said a silent questioning prayer, “Why do we even do this, Lord?” I asked. “What difference are we making?”
And, like God will do from time to time… He answered immediately: “Look closer, Lauri… Pay attention.” (He seems to have to tell me that a lot.) So I did.
At a table in the back, an older woman sat drinking coffee. Beside her was a large knapsack filled to the brim with all her worldly possessions. As I watched, she closed her eyes and listened to the voices singing in the circle. And she smiled. It was beautiful.
“Keeping looking,” God said, “Look in the back.”
So I did. And there he was. Sitting alone on the floor, leaning against the back wall. He looked tired and worn. But he was mouthing the words of the praise song we were singing. He knew every word.
And I looked up and murmured a prayer of thanks.
We don’t always understand why God has us doing the work we are doing. Sometimes He makes the reasons very clear… other times, not so much. But that is what we are here to do… until He comes to take us home. What a day that will be!
So, look around, pay attention. And if you still don’t understand, look up.
Sometimes He will answer you right where you are.
Even in a crowded room, on a Wednesday morning… singing in a circle of believers… making a difference.
Lauri Van Hofwegen, Donor Care Associate, Lighthouse Mission Ministries