By Keifer Dooley
It was late August and I was back at work in the RMC administrative offices after spending a solid eight weeks working at Glacier View Ranch for summer camp. The sun was beginning to set as I left the office, leaving the air fresh, balmy and a cool 72 degrees. As I made my way to I-25, I began to roll down my windows, letting the perfect late summer air wash through my car. “Perfect,” I thought, “I’m driving my nice new 2018 Subaru WRX, it’s a beautiful evening, and I’m going to see my wonderful fiancée. Praise God!” The words of Chance the Rapper’s song, “Blessings,” played in my head, “When the praises go up, the blessings come down. It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap!”
As my windows whirred down, I slowed to stop at a red light. I glanced out and saw a young man with his thumb in the air. Windows down, eye contact made, car rolling to a stop …I resisted an urge to lock my eyes on the car in front of me or to pull out my phone. “Hey man, I’m heading toward 25,” I shouted out the window, “but if that’ll help, hop in!”
Over the next 3.5 miles, Eli told me a bit about his life— his recent abdominal surgery to repair a ruptured spleen, his girlfriend who was in the hospital on Downing Street fighting Type 1 diabetes, and how, after leaving visitation hours at the hospital, he had found the bus to downtown was cancelled. This was bad news because he had to make the 6 p.m. check-in time at New Genesis, a residence for displaced individuals. Although Eli was working two jobs, he was struggling to afford housing, let alone keep up with hospital bills. He shared how he was hoping to save enough by staying at New Genesis to get on his feet and have a place of his own in a few months.
In a few minutes, as I pulled over to let Eli out, he said, “Hey brother, let me pray for you.” In his prayer, Eli gave thanks to God for the Genesis shelter, for the ride that I gave him to ensure that he kept his good status with their community, and for the fact that both he and his girlfriend were “still breathing.” I said a quick prayer for Eli in response and as I finished, he pulled out a cross shaped necklace and said, “Kiefer, I’m all good because He is so good! I give thanks and praise to Jesus every day for what He did for me, and for you, on a cross just like this one.”
As I pulled away, I thought about the joy that I’d been experiencing as I reveled in a few of the blessings that God poured out on my lap. And while Eli’s profound gratitude for the little things, in the midst of some truly unfortunate circumstances, stood in stark juxtaposition to the same feelings I had been celebrating only 15 minutes earlier, they all stemmed from one fact: the pure goodness of our God. Chance the Rapper’s lyrics played in my mind again and echoed the words of King David in Psalm 98:28–29, written so many years earlier: “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
This holiday season, take a moment to remember that God is good. Give praise to him in all things. And with a little, or a lot, find a way to give to your community—whether it is money in tithes or offerings, time in volunteering, or simply giving like Eli did, through uplifting testimony and praise to Jesus!
Kiefer Dooley is RMC associate youth director.