Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box has always been a great spot to talk with homeless people. Twenty years ago, when I worked with street involved youth, I would stand in front of the restaurant and wait. People would be hanging out there all day long, seeking shelter and using the bathroom to shoot up. The menu always had a few cheap specials. Two tacos for ninety- nine cents, three breakfast jacks for two dollars etc. I prayed with many people at the Broadway Jack in the Box and always thought of it as a holy place. When the Bible talks about the “kingdom of heaven” I think of Jack in the Box. Jesus tells the poor in spirit that the kingdom of heaven is theirs. The good news of Jesus is that “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule (Matthew 5:3 MSG).”

I still go to Jack in the Box! The one on Broadway is closed but the one on 4th is happening. There is a food bank next door and a methadone clinic up the street. The bus stop in front connects to downtown and the international district. I stand in front of the restaurant and wait. I talk with a group of people who are excited to get some hats and gloves. It’s cold and you can never have enough beanies. The crowd thins and people yell over their shoulder thanks and God bless you. A man rolls over in his wheelchair and starts praying for me. “Lord, thank you for this man’s heart. Thank you for the leading of the Holy Spirit. I pray you bless him as he has blessed us today!” We talk about God and he tells me about his dreams. “I had a dream where God showed me the desires of his heart. He showed me my heart and healed me of all bitterness and anger. I was able to move on in my life and be free.”

There is a woman who lives in front of the food bank next to Jack in the Box. She has a huge pile of her stuff spread out between two shopping carts. She spends her days picking up trash, cleaning the bus stop and parking lot. I offer her a granola bar and she says, “thank you, God bless you”. People in front of Jack in the Box understand the blessings of God. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the one most dear to you (Matthew 5:4 MSG).”

Michael Cox

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