Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
When God tugs at your heart. By Tim O’Neill
There are moments in our lives where we run into people that we immediately connect with and William was no exception. I love reading scripture especially when I know that specific quotes have impacted or changed an individual’s life.
In the dining room at Refuge of Hope, we have a large white board that typically has a scripture verse penned across for all to see. Two weeks after taking on the position of Director of Operations, I noticed that the verses were getting longer and you could tell that they were deeply felt. At first, I thought it was U-Londa, our Meal Ministry Assistant, but once we discussed it we realized it was one of our resident men. With 50 men staying with us, I had to ask around and was told that young William would get up at 5:00 am and write the verses in the dark each morning. I approached William and told him how much I appreciated reading the scripture and his added thoughts. He gave me a smile from ear to ear and said, “The Lord is great and I just have to let everyone know.” William shared with me he had accepted the Lord into his life four months ago and he was walking the walk now.
One week after our discussion William failed our nightly breathalyzer test. He knew and understood the rules about using alcohol, and consequently, he was asked to leave the shelter for 10 days. During that time, he visited the dining room twice for dinner and also took some food from the free donation table on his way out. I gently, touched his shoulder one night and told him that he was at the top of my prayer list and to not give up.
Three days later one of our residents took me aside and said that I needed to get to the alley ASAP. When I arrived, William was being transported by paramedics after he apparently overdosed on heroin. William survived that overdose but I have not seen him since that day.
Addiction has a power over many people and William is no different. Every day since then I have asked myself, “What could I have done to prevent this from happening?” I know prayer is powerful, especially in combination with compassion and human touch.
How can any of us help someone battling drug addiction? This time, William lost to temptation, but his faith seemed strong. Maybe he will return to stay with us and I will have a second chance. If not, I believe I will have the opportunity to help other men who are struggling and looking to break free from addictions and transform their lives.
The result of this experience has been God tugging at my heart saying, “Do not give up.” So, I will keep praying for the men who are staying with us and for those who will come in the future, and I will do everything I can to help each one. Please join me in prayer for the men. Together, we can make a difference in their lives.