So we went to lunch together at Louie's Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown. We had a good meal and it was hot.
He had been in and out of rehab and was now 9 days clean from heroin and crack. He was wanting to get off the streets and we talked about options. I feel that it is better to give options and empower people to choose, rather than choose for them and tell them what to do. It was obvious that something was bothering him. As he talked about his past and how he self medicated, I kept probing as to why he chose the path he had. He kept stating that he had pain and it was hard to accept himself. I understood.
"So, you really believe that God led you to me," he said.
"Sure," I said, "I have learned that God works that way."
"What if I would not have been there?" he asked.
I shared with him that I would be sitting with someone else, somewhere else, eating lunch. However, I suggested to him that there are so many people (I used the term so many you can shake a stick at) like him that God sends us to who we meet. Unfortunately there are not many who will go so there are plenty who need but few who will go. Therefore, I would have met someone.
He was silent. "But," I mentioned, "I listened to God and that is why I met you. God has always tried to reach you--sometimes you closed your eyes, other times people God sent bailed before they got to you."
"So people make choices," he said.
"Yes," I replied, "sometimes people make good choices, other times they make bad choices. God offers the choice, people either choose to do or choose to ignore. Yet most of the times God chooses not to intervene."
He understood. "But there have been times when I thought God was leading, but it ended in disaster. I have lived the last few years believing that God punished me and did that to me. I have been angry with him."
I understood. I mentioned that people make choices. If I had walked to him, as God had led me, and some guys met me, robbed me, and beat me up (before I got to him) would God have still been to blame? It was clear that God had led me to the bridge, but did God put the guys in my way to hurt me?
He shook his head.