Love Is Free

Two weeks ago, Elissa and I were at a recovery center checking someone into rehab when I saw a friend from the streets out of the corner of my eye. I hadn’t seen her in months and had to do a double take — she looked different. She wasn't just physically cleaned up; her entire demeanor had changed.

“Jenny? Jenny!”  

“Elisabeth!” Jenny ran over to me and gave me a hug. She was so excited, she could hardly get the words out fast enough: “I am in an outpatient program here. I went through a forty-five day inpatient program and graduated on January 2. I am living at an apartment and have a job!”

When I saw her that day, I was reminded about what was so special about Jenny ....

Jenny used to be homeless and addicted to crack — and, while living on the streets, she tapped into something many people never experience. She shared her secret and a story with me.

On a day full of appointments with social workers and employment meetings, Jenny found herself very hungry — and without food.  As she walked through a field to the bus stop, someone randomly showed up in the field with an extra sandwich. She didn't ask anyone for food; they just gave it to her. 

A well-worn path through the empty lot in our neighborhood.

She told me something about that encounter, "God just loves me so much he knew what I needed and provided for me. He does this all of the time." She went on to tell me of multiple experiences like this one, where her Heavenly Father knew what she needed before she asked. She beamed when she talked about how He loves her.

Jenny had grasped the idea that God’s love for her did not equal his rescuing her out of difficulty and homelessness. She had learned a hard lesson: it is not that God loves her now — now that she is not homeless and clean from drugs; but rather that He loved her deeply when she was hungry and struggling with addiction the exact same as He loves her now.