Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story of judgment that turned to blessing and forgiveness in a way that only God could script. 21-year-old Simon Child was recently photographed and criticized on Facebook by a disgruntled woman for sleeping in a McDonald’s restaurant. The picture was circled around and Simon was soon identified as the man in the picture. What the world didn’t know until Simon was identified and asked about the incident was that Simon was homeless and was struggling to support his son since the recent death of his mother. When he was photographed, he was catching a quick nap between work shifts at the McDonald’s. Upon hearing his story, his community of Fayetteville, GA rallied together to support Simon by donating diapers, clothing, toiletries, and other necessary supplies. The owners of another restaurant lent him a car for job interviews. A local barber gave him a free haircut so he could look sharp for new employment opportunities. Other community members paid for Simon and his son to stay in a hotel until they could find permanent housing. Finally, Simon got the opportunity to speak with the woman who took his photo. She apologized for her action, and Simon does not harbor any ill will towards her. Simon told a local news outlet, “I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her. I didn't think the community would even care enough to do that, but they care.”
We often say “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” While that sentiment is a good one, sometimes we are dealt more than just lemons in life – sometimes real tragedy strikes. Bouncing back from setbacks requires perseverance and positivity, but climbing back from tragedy requires endless amounts of faith. When things seem darkest like they certainly did for Simon – homeless, mourning, stressed, and then publicly shamed – God is still there with us and working to turn our tragedy into triumph. God promised us in the Book of Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” There is no tragedy that God cannot turn into triumph if we only have faith. Today, if you are dealing with tragedy, have faith. Help is coming. If you know someone struggling, be the blessing that they need today.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV