Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18
His fragile frame and stumbling steps caught our eyes and grabbed our hearts. Slowing traipsing across his front yard near the busy street, each stepped seemed laborious and purposeful. Using a walker as support, his eyes were fixed on his goal: the Sunday newspapers that were tossed and left at the edge of his property. With no sidewalk in front of his home and a foreshortened shoulder on the side of the road, he seemed dangerously close to the street.
This precious elderly man’s imbalanced cadence impelled our hearts synchronously. “Let’s stop and bring up his newspapers for him whenever we can.”
Our little family of four has passed this house thousands of times and never took notice. But that Sunday morning on our way to church, our hearts were moved. Moved by an aged man. Moved by a neglected home.
Withered and seemingly unkempt, the house and the man seem content together.
Several worn American flags hang in windows across the front of his house, causing us to wonder if he is a war veteran. Through cracked glass, dangling shudders and faded paint, you feel the man’s sense of pride in his homeland.
Though broken and neglected, we see strength in this house. We imagine the same strength in the precious man. The determination to weather the storms of life. The character to fight through trials. The endurance to reach goals. The pride to hang a banner of identity even through blurred windows.
We see hope peeking out from behind the withered exterior.
So, as hope looks for love, we stop and bring his papers up to his porch a few times a week. The children write him notes sometimes and we put them in bags and hang them on his door knob. Praying for him every morning as we pass, and having only seen him that one Sunday morning, we excitedly hope to get another glimpse of him.
He is a stranger to us, but known completely and loved perfectly by Jesus. And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ~ Matthew 25:40
An elderly man. A tired home. God’s compassion beckons us to love in action and in truth. Our daily drive to school and church has taken on a new measure of meaning.
So, on this Valentine’s Day as we drive by, we will stop and bring up his newspaper. We will deliver a Valentine and a large-print Bible to his doorstep. We will pray he knows God’s great love for him. We pray he knows the Savior and Redeemer.
And we hope he knows that, though we have never met, he has moved our hearts in the most beautiful of ways. His house is building love in our hearts. Our broken, hopeful, needful hearts.
So, as hope peeks out through dimmed windows and neglected walls, Love waits. Love comes. Love came.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save us…
1 Timothy 1:15
By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.
And so we know and rely
on the love God has for us.
God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in him.
1 John 4:16