As we drove through downtown North Little Rock, I looked out the window at rundown buildings, fast food restaurants, littered sidewalks, and passing cars. We pulled up to the coffee shop, got out of the van, dodged passing cars as we crossed the road, and hurried into the crowded shop. Hipsters and Suits sat around sipping lattes, so we grabbed some coffee and headed to the back to do our morning meditation and Bible study.
When we were ready to head back to the Ministry, Steven said we should walk instead of taking the van. I agreed, and we began retracing our steps. My eyes were opened to another world.
When we were speeding by in the van, I had failed to see the lady right across the street, huddled up on a bench, wrapped in a single blanket for warmth, peering into the warm coffee shop where people, far richer than they realize, sat around and had smalltalk. As we walked further, I realized that I hadn’t seen the man sprawled out in a passing alley. Or the couple dressed in tattered street clothes wishing us a chipper “Goodmorning!” as we passed by. Or even the woman on the street corner with a sign in hand that read, “Pregnant, please help.” In fact, I hadn’t seen anyone on the streets as we drove by, but now, as I walked them, I saw a city bustling with hurting people.
Do you ever actually look at the person walking down the street as you drive by? Or the man standing on the corner with a sign in hand? Or the woman huddled up in a blanket fighting the bitter cold? Do you ever actually see them? Or are you too busy…speeding by to a late appointment, to a dinner table, to a coffee shop, or to a church?
You must not see them either.
Because if you did, how could they be there?