An American’s Thoughts From Germany

For almost two weeks now my husband and I have been on vacation in Germany visiting our sweet foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. To say we’ve had an incredible time so far wouldn’t even come close to describing just how amazing it’s been. This place is remarkable! When we get home (to the states) and time is on my side I’ll do a follow-up-post filled with pictures to hopefully convey bits and pieces of the experience.

But right now I have to write…

We’re traveling by train (currently) from our girl’s village to a larger city a few hours away for some last minute fun with her before we head back to the U.S. in a few days. I have downtime so I’m reflecting on moments from our time so far in Germany and there’s a reflection I just haven’t been able to shake…

We had the opportunity to spend a few days in Berlin while we’ve been here and one of the first things I noticed when we arrived was the large amount of homeless people. I know it’s common in larger cities but being on a longer vacation caused me to take more notice. Even while walking through packed sidewalks and crossing busy roads it still can’t be overseen. I couldn’t help but think what their story is, how they ended up this doubt some of these very men and women had it together at one point of their life. **If you ever need practice on not judging others spend a few days in the city and consider the fact that even Jesus was homeless. (see Matthew 8:20)

Our time in Berlin was an eye opener for sure…to be honest I struggled a bit…you’re surrounded by both wealth and poverty, but it was the latter of the two that choked me up—because every time I’d cross paths with one of these homeless people, scripture would graze across my heart yet I felt so helpless. The Bible calls us to care for the homeless (read James 2) but when you’re in an area where it’s sooo heavily saturated with homeless men and women who have little to nothing, and there’s a language barrier to top it off, what can you do???

Recalling our last evening in Berlin…we left the busier downtown area of the city and headed toward the tram station—a rough-looking, middle-aged man in dirty clothing could be spotted resting on his knees rummaging through the bottom opening of a trash can.

Enna (our foreign exchange student) had told us days before that the homeless people will collect empty plastic and glass bottles from the garbage and then deposit them into recycling bins in return for cash.

This man was clearly doing just that as he meticulously filled a rickety cart with other people’s “trash”. And then, just as we were about to slip past him, like we had so many others in similar situations, he turned his head and made eye contact with us and I could see the look of humiliation and desperation across his face…and I couldn’t even offer a smile, I chose not to because I felt shame for our complete opposite circumstances. Smiles are a beautiful and contagious expression, but in this moment my lips wouldn’t allow me to go there…and all I could give was a silent prayer in my heart over this man as I quickly moved beyond him.

Some guilt has claimed over me on that deal, but I know that’s part of Satan’s lies; and in the days since, the Holy Spirit has reminded me that prayer has power even when the one you’re praying for never knows ‘you’ are doing so. It’s Jesus who deserves the glory over a right heart anyway, not me, so I can’t pat myself on the back for praying even, but Jesus can take that prayer and do immeasurably, remarkable things with it.

I have to remember that at times all I can offer is a prayer—but prayer is huge and it points to Jesus…

He can move mountains by our very prayer. And since He’s the living Stone (see 1 Peter 2:6) we have to trust He’s fully in control when our help feels inadequate.

After all, in the moments leading up to Jesus’ death, and while He was hanging on the cross, Jesus relied deeply on prayer— and His obedient, sacrificial love landed Him at the place of highest honor in Heaven next to His Father. (see Philippians 2:9, Mark 16:19)

I want to choose prayer above all—especially in the moments when nothing else seems tangible—because prayer is the one thing that’s always readily available and worthy of remembrance, leading us straight to God! (see Philippians 4:6)

What about you—how do you respond or interact with the homeless? Or do you notice? What lengths are you willing to go to offer compassion if so?

What about in bigger cities where it’s so common, what’s your response to homeless men and women then?

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Author: alimw2013

About For His Purpose~ My name is Alicia and I'm a thirty-something year old who loves Jesus. Only through God’s amazing grace and mercy I have been redeemed from past regret and shame. Reading His word has allowed me to look past Satan’s forceful lies, to see myself for who Christ says I am in Him. Through writing I have learned why I made the choices I made in my younger years and I now have a better understanding of why I desire to love God like crazy these days. Despite my daily failures, God remains faithful always. I am reassured of His unconditional love for me by every ink-drop spilled out on paper, each committed prayer as I cry out to Him, and deep understanding reflected through reading His word as truth. Yes keeping a blog will make me vulnerable to others’ opinions- there will be some who don’t understand, some who may criticize or judge, but on the other hand if just one piece expressed through my writing grabs someone’s attention and directs them to God, then pouring out my heart in a blog for the world to read is worth it. I choose to glorify Him alone through words streaming across a glowing screen. And it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t reveal the fact that I’m incredibly quirky; I’m my loving husband’s best friend, my vivacious kids’ craziest cheerleader and spiritual trainer (3 John 1:4). I love anything farmhouse and rustic style. I think cupping a warm coffee mug in the palm of my hands is more satisfying than the contents within. I share a common obsession with my husband for the mountains, but I would (without a doubt) settle for waves crashing against my legs at the Atlantic Ocean just as well, and I almost always have a Yorkie curled up on my lap while writing. *All photos are photographed by and therefore may not be stored or photocopied in any manner.

18 thoughts on “An American’s Thoughts From Germany”

  1. I live in a small city. Here the churches care for many of the homeless. My sister and I will buy food for the ones we meet. God said feed the hungry.:)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I always have a sense of hopelessness when seeing the homeless. Sure, there are individual stories with happy endings, but they are few and far between. I’m glad you brought out that prayer power is there, even though the recipient is unaware. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Seems like such a hands on deal when helping homeless but at times it just can’t happen that way and I’m so grateful for prayer in those situation types but I realize I don’t want to limit myself to that alone …when the opportunity is available where I am able to lend a hand I want to be sure and do so.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In the central Illinois city where I live, there are large numbers of homeless people. Prayer is good. My husband and I also give money to a local food pantry in our downtown area near the library where large numbers of homeless people gather.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really neat!! Where I live we don’t have that at all..maybe one or two every few months passing through town and I try to give them a little food/snacks ..when I’m in larger cities and see the homeless it really pulls at my heartstrings.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A long, time ago my family was walking in the downtown of a large city. We passed a group of “homeless-looking” people. We were eating as we walked pass them. On an impulse, I turned back to them and gave one of them my sandwich. Then ran back to my family, because quite honestly, I was afraid of them. My young daughter got angry with me. She apparently thought I was inappropriate to give away my food. Facing homelessness brings many emotions. Fear, angry, hopelessness, because we don’t understand they are people just like ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow…what an experience to have. The homeless always make me feel sad. I don’t often see them personally as we live in a very rural area, but we do donate regularly to our state-wide food bank. It’s our way of being able to help, even if it’s just in a small way. Amen to the power of prayer! Thank you for reminding me that prayer is powerful. I have been a bit “overwhelmed” lately (small babies have a way of not letting you get enough sleep which sometimes makes things seem bigger than they are 😉 ) which I know is a passing season, but my prayers lately have perhaps not been all they could be. I know how much comfort I can find in prayer, imagine how much comfort we can offer others through our prayers if we put just a little bit of effort into them. (I needed this reminder, lol!) Thank you and God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome I’m so glad!! I have to remind myself that even prayers of few words are powerful enough, it’s that whole mustard seed of faith mindset and trusting our Lord that He is able to do mighty things!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, were not homeless, but we are very dependant. One of the things that has bothered me the most about being dependant is that I’d love to help people in a physical hands on sort of way, but I can’t. (health issues and lack of money.) When were able to, though, we’ve done small things: given money to feed people a meal at Christmas, and one time we had this gift card for a food chain, so we offered it to a young homeless fellow who was in the vicinity of those food places. It doesn’t seem like enough, but it always feels amazing when you can do something even if it’s small.

    There’s a mother Teresa quote …”Do small things with great love.” This makes me think of the gal in the Bible who offered the only money she had. It was a small offering, but she was poor herself and she needed that money. God smiles on sacrifice and selflessness. It’s what’s in the heart that matters to Him. The Holy Spirit was aching for those homeless people in Germany, so you prayed. It seemed like a small act, but it was done with great love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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