Tim and Tera. Two people who became more than just names for me this morning.
The past thirteen years I’ve volunteered for a Fort Wayne ministry called Inasmuch, that serves our city’s poor. After sitting with countless numbers of people over the years, hearing their stories, and praying with them, it would be easy to become cynical, hard-hearted, and judgmental. But for me, each person has a name, they have a unique story, and this helps me to treat each one as special, precious children of God.
So this morning Tim and Tera became more than just another couple poor persons needing help, they became real people struggling with the challenges of life. Tim lives in a tent down by a nearby river. He’s homeless. It was 20 degrees this morning and he likely spent the night outside. Tera is a young single mom who’s expecting her second child this summer. She is looking for a job and needed help with her past due rent.
I don’t know how they ended up in the situations that they’re in. And I don’t have any easy answers or quick solutions to give them. Even if Tim and Tera get on their feet and become financially self sufficient, they’ll be other people with different names who will find themselves struggling with the challenges of life too.
Yet, the encounters that we have with people facing challenges offer us a chance to remind them, as well as ourselves, that we have a loving creator who knows our names, that we worship a God of second chances. And as a result, we all can be people who are a little more hopeful and encouraged. For we each have a name and a story and are special in God’s eyes, all of us including Tim and Tera. Knowing that, no doubt, will help us as we face new challenges yet to come.
— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development