Meet Ray

Some time back on one of our explorations through Detroit, we noticed a man hunched over on the steps of an old church, his face buried into his lap. The temperature had dropped below 60 degrees, and the summer air blew harsh against the skin. Rain came down in sheets intermittently. His body was only half covered by the eaves, spindly legs in jogging pants poking out onto the sidewalk.

I’ve thought about this man everyday since I saw him on the steps of that empty church.

A couple nights later we drove past the same church and are pretty sure we saw him again, this time huddled on one of the park benches out front. Finally, after days of thinking about this man, I had learned his name.

Meet Ray. Middle-aged and weary, Ray lives outside the walls of a church because he claims it is one of the safest places he can be. He works hard, walking miles several times a week to put in job applications all over the city. Ray is mild-mannered but friendly, generous and considerate. When he heard that we hadn’t eaten at White Castle before, he pulled out two of his hamburgers and tried to share his dinner with us, not knowing when his next meal would come.

We asked Ray what he would choose to do if he could do anything he wanted. He told us that he enjoyed drawing and would love to do something where he could create cartoon strips. Art moved him. In the practical sense, he told us he’d settle for anything. He just wanted a job so that he could get off the streets.

Glimpsing Ray sitting on the park bench outside the church, his arms crossed over his chest and his head nodding in sleep, we were reminded that one of God’s names is El Roi – God Who Sees. El Roi sees our past heartaches, our present struggles and our anxieties about the future; He knew Ray long before we did and has continued taking care of him after our paths separated.

Pray for Ray this week as you think about him:
1. That he might find continue to find sustenance and protection daily
2. That his diligence may pay off and that he may find a job soon
3. For God to continue providing him hope and for his eyes to be open to it


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August 2009
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