It was 3:00pm in the afternoon on August 2nd in Austin, Texas and it was well over 100 degrees outside. I was dressed in business clothes, and decided to drive by Eddie’s corner to see if he was there. The last three times I had gone by he hadn’t been there. I just kind of assumed the worst-that he was dead or back in jail on a long sentence.
As I pulled up to Eddie’s spot, I saw him sitting on a plastic crate staring down at the ground. I pulled into the pawnshop across the intersection and parked my car. As I was crossing the street, Eddie looked up and saw me coming over. At first he didn’t realize it was me, but as I got closer he recognized my face.
“Jonathan!” Eddie shouted as he jumped up and started walking towards me. We hugged each other tightly and he invited me to sit down with him. I sat on the other black crate, and we started catching up.
Even though we hadn’t seen each other in almost a year, we didn’t skip a beat. Eddie filled me in on everything that had been going on in his world. He had 12 stitches on his forehead, and 20 more on the back of his head. He had been attacked by some guys with a baseball bat a few days before, and they had beat him up pretty bad. Unfortunately, this was typical for a day in Eddie’s life.
After we had talked for 15 or 20 minutes, I asked Eddie if I could pray with him before I left. He scooted his crate closer to me and we held hands. Not in a weird way, but in a manly way, like we were about to arm wrestle. Eddie asked if he could pray first, and he started praying.
I sat there with my eyes closed in the 100 degree heat, and listened as Eddie prayed with more authenticity than 98 percent of guys that I have ever prayed with. Immediately, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude, just being there with Eddie in that moment. I thought that I was going by the corner to check-in on Eddie and make sure he was OK, but God was just as interested in my heart as He was in Eddie that day.
Looking back, I see how the Lord used fellowship with Eddie to work on my heart. He showed me how God can cleanse a person from the inside, even if they look broken and dirty from the outside:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
This is not limited to those who look and act like us. It’s not limited to social class, race, or background. We have fellowship with anyone who is walking in the light. Eddie and I have fellowship because we are both cleansed from all sin. The beauty of following Christ is that no matter how we are on the outside, we have the same Holy Spirit inside us. Riches, gender, and location don’t matter to God. A heart that seeks Him does.
That’s what I learned from my friend, Eddie White.