“Ya’ll don’t wanna help me.”
That was Michael’s response when we offered him lunch. It was a strange reaction from a man holding up a cardboard sign, his last decent meal as distant as the cars passing him by. We reassured him, and soon we were off to Waffle House.
Along the way we traded stories. His was harrowing. Childhood abandonment had made for a hard life in New Orleans, but even his small plot of solid ground was washed away when Hurricane Katrina left him on the streets. So when we began sharing the good news of Jesus with him, it was literally too good to be true.
“Yeah, maybe Jesus loves you, but not me,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m 55, homeless, and I got AIDS. He don’t love me. I just can’t believe it.”
Before parting ways we prayed for him, asking God to give him proof of his love, proof he couldn’t deny. When we finished, Michael got out of the car, then stopped in deep reflection.
“I want to tell you guys one more thing before I go,” he said finally. “My grandmother was from East Africa, and she believed in Jesus. And, well, I guess I’m from East Africa too.” Then he just walked away.
We were speechless. We had mentioned nothing about East Africa. We called out to him frantically and told him that we were actually moving to East Africa in just a few weeks to share with people about Jesus. His eyes widened and he jolted in disbelief. After a moment he gathered himself and looked back at us.
“That was my proof,” he said.
It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.