Everyone is worth counting. That's the underlying premise of the second national survey of homeless Americans.
Recently completed, the survey holds no specific answers to the challenge of homelessness, but it does illustrate that each individual has value (The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 21).
As the article points out, people find themselves without permanent dwellings for numerous reasons, so a one-size-fits-all response doesn't always work. That's not to discount the efforts of those providing help. Emergency shelters, food programs, and subsidized housing give needed help, but it's only in seeing and meeting each individual's needs that progress is really made.
That's a tall order, given the potential number of homeless people worldwide. Take Dane Blythe, who explains in the article that his personal issues and his longing for freedom keep him from remaining in a more permanent home. Still, he looks to God for help and manages to be grateful for what comes his way. "I just pray to God every morning to give me what I need, if not what I want. And every night I thank God for what I do have."
God's love is both broad enough to encompass each of His children and specific enough to meet individual needs. He doesn't leave anyone out. We can depend on divine support when life turns a corner we didn't expect and even when our basic necessities appear to be threatened. Whether we're on the streets or living in a home, God is there to help.
It doesn't matter what anyone else appears to think about us. The only factor is what God knows to be true. One psalm says, "Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head" (Ps. 3:2, 3).
As children of God, dignity is an inherent part of each of us. This spiritual quality isn't something that comes and goes, depending on human circumstances. It's a God-given, permanent part of our identity. We have dignity because God loves us, and that doesn't change.
As we gain a deeper understanding of this for ourselves, we can be aware of it for others, too. And as divine grace reaches us, we can, in turn, reach out to one another.
Prayer opens the door to a better grasp of what home really means. Home, as a spiritual idea, is something that promises fulfillment. At the core, it's a closer relationship with God and a more satisfying awareness of being loved by our eternal Parent.
Home and the sense of belonging and safety that go with it are present wherever God is. Since God is everywhere, no one is beyond this place of comfort. The ideas we need to make progress, even to thrive, are spiritual and are given by God. We are at home with our Father-Mother 24/7.
God's power isn't limited to comfort. He strengthens and emboldens us. Our prayers lead us to a better state of existence, whether that's a new home or a clearer mental focus. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote, "The human capacities are enlarged and perfected in proportion as humanity gains the true conception of man and God" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 258).
That's why this recent survey matters. It reminds us that everyone is valuable, and that no one is left out of God's love. There's plenty of work to be done in resolving the many facets of homelessness, but acknowledging the individual worth of each of God's children is a valid and inspired place to start.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days
of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.