Some months back, my husband and I helped a young friend move house. And you may remember my being in awe of my husband’s ability to back a hired moving truck down a long narrow driveway to her front door? Well, good news – or not! The owner sold our young friend’s rental and we have just had to do it all again! Once again, we hired the same sized truck, and once again my husband impressed me mightily with his backing skills. So, just recently on a cold and early morning, we began to pack that truck for another move.
And if I thought my husband’s backing abilities were good, at the new place all of my expectations were surpassed, with a bend in that driveway making his achievements even more awesome! With only four 60-something adults (ourselves and a couple of friends), we simply had to complete the move on that day, as our friend’s last day in the previous place and first day in the next one happened all on the same day. No negotiation, just a ‘system’ that nearly defeated our friend, had she not been able to make the move happen – on that day!
By God’s grace and God’s alone, we achieved the transportation of our friend’s household from previous to current place of abode. Oh, and while I am busy thanking God for moving mercies, let me thank Him too, for holding off the rain until we were actually driving into the ‘Thrifty’ yard in order to return the truck! How blessed were we? We managed the move through a cold day and remain thankful that we did not have to work through rain as well!
Some days later, as I continue to thank God for the gift of the friends who helped with that move, and the fact that we achieved it all in that one day, I am still somewhat stiff, sore (from where a small table top fell against my shin and made me see stars in the midst of that pain!) and aching practically all over! But as the pain in my shin and legs recedes, the ache for what our young friend has to go through remains. We drove home to our warm and comfortable house that night, just a little uneasily content in the knowledge that we do not have to deal with the instability and uncertainty of renting the roof over our heads. Any decision to move from our current house (barring accidents and/or extraordinary circumstances) is ours and ours alone to make.
And that thought brings me back to the plight of many people, particularly in our larger cities who have to struggle so hard, even if they do have work, to pay for soaring rental costs that are demanded just to keep that roof over their heads. And then there are the myriads of other costs such as food, clothing, utilities, educational needs among others, just to cover the most basic needs of life and family. It is small wonder that for one of the larger welfare agencies in our municipality, the Monday morning queues for just a food hamper get longer and longer, as more people find themselves struggling to meet their most basic requirements.
One of our sons lives in an inner suburb, where the streets are lined with homeless and struggling people, many of whom are asking for a few dollars to get through the day – or week or month… Our son befriended one man, and began taking him into the local supermarket and buying him some food items, as the man chose. One day the man knocked back the food offer as he pleaded with our son for a bit of cash. He had acquired some occasional work, but almost all of what the man earned disappeared on his room rental to the point that he could not afford any heating whatsoever – let alone food. Our son immediately began to contribute to the man’s gas/electricity bill.
So, what can we do? As Christians, can I summon us to prayer please? And can I urge us to be specific in our prayers please, as we not just ask God in general terms for battling people’s needs to be met, regardless of their age, background and current circumstances? As I observe a widening gap between rich and poor in my city, I am troubled enough with that trend to ask you to pray for a renewed mentality of a fair go and a fair(er) share for those less well off? And can I ask for your awareness as well as your prayers for those in all areas of government, land development and housing provision to be more mindful of the needs of many rather than for the profits of a (comparatively) a few? For all of the people on our streets and shivering in ill-heated housing, I thank you for caring…
Glynis Dickins is the Pastoral Care Pastor at Rosanna Baptist Church, in the North-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. She is passionate for writing about the wonderful people she has connected with throughout many years of ministry. She also writes short stories and published her first novel in 2014 through Ark House, who have just published her next novel.