Seth Smith was baptized a little over a year ago…it seemed to be the natural progression of his faith. He and the Lord had been developing a deep bond, so this was only fitting. Those who knew Seth, as well as every ruler and authority in the heavenly realms, now knew who Seth belonged to, as God’s seal fit tightly over his heart.
Shortly afterward he was whisked away by the Spirit to Colorado, where he lived amongst the homeless and destitute. Sadly for me, the growing bond that the two of us had been developing (we had met at church 3 months prior) was paused for a time. It was hard for me to get a hold of him most of the time, as the ubiquitous iPhone is not so ubiquitous in homeless shelters. Every now and then he would find a computer, usually at a public library, and send me a Facebook message.
He always seemed joyful and honored, as well as overwhelmed and undeserving, of the fact that God was using him so effectively in the lives of the people he’d meet. He was a tool in his Maker’s hands, bringing encouragement and light to as many people as the Lord would send him to. To some, he received divine insight to pass along, perhaps in the form of a prophecy; to others he simply shared the message of his heart—Come, come to Jesus…and come to life!
The people he met were a far cry from your everyday Mr. Rogers or Beaver Cleaver. He met some down and out people in the missions he visited—drug addicts hardened from too much time on the street, people who had as little hope as they did money, guys with some serious holes in their hearts. Seth asserted that his many tattoos were an asset in giving him street cred with the toughest of the bunch; he never imagined that God would use his ink in such a way! It was inspiring to hear stories of hopeless faces lighting up, kindness returning to hearts after years of hibernation, people believing in Jesus for the first time, and prodigals returning to the Father.
At one of the shelters there was a fountain in the vicinity, and the Holy Spirit whispered into Seth’s ear to bless the waters. Seth willingly obeyed without any idea of what may come from it. He kept the matter to himself until he came upon a man who was very sick from a cold, and realized that his actions could be of benefit to this new acquaintance. Upon hearing about the blessed water, the man ran to the fountain with an urgency in his eyes that Seth had never seen before. He drank some of the water, and within 3 hours the man’s cold symptoms had cleared up in full!
“It’s been a refining tool learning to trust in him with all my might, but He has been faithful to his word and somehow I make it through day to day.”
Throughout the week, several others heard about the man’s good results and decided to follow suit, and they too were healed of their infirmities. And let me just interject something here—Seth is a real humble dude, and what he told them afterward is no surprise to me. “Don’t tell anybody about this,” he said, not wanting any attention on himself. They didn’t so much follow this instruction though, and by week’s end folks with new faces were showing up at the fountain with 2-Liter and 20-ounce containers in hand to bottle this purified H2O—or should I say Holy2O—for future use!
It was exciting to hear how God had been using and refining Seth, and on December 30th he sent me this excerpt from his journal:
“In the flesh, I could be worried about my stay at the shelter coming to a close, not having a way home nor any way to pay insurance on the car. But no doors have been opened to get me home so I’m trusting Abba Papa is at work handling all of this. Living at the mission is going well, the Holy Spirit is softening hearts in ways I don’t understand, I’m just aware of the changes inside the people. It’s been a refining tool learning to trust in him with all my might, but He has been faithful to his word and somehow I make it through day to day. I’ve noticed the others here have had a change of heart and are becoming compassionate to others even amidst their struggles. They are becoming more active in the community doing what they can with an excellent spirit. Praise God. I am weak and weary in the flesh but the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Seth eventually made it back to Jacksonville this past summer. It was amazing to reconnect with my brother and hear about the many stories of God’s daily business out in Colorado. The first night we hung out we went to an All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Buffet, and as plateful after tasty plateful of raw sealife was consumed, the paused bond between two good friends was set back into motion.
Seth left the Sunshine State for a season to bring the good news of God out to the broken and desperate people of Colorado, to those who needed a touch from God more than they needed anything else. He heard the call and left, without knowing what was in store for him or how he would get by. He just knew his Abba Papa wanted him to go, and that was enough. Colorado’s state motto is Nil Sine Numine, meaning “Nothing without providence,” or “Nothing without the Deity.” Seth can surely attest to that sentiment, for the folks he met in the shelters…and for every person who has ever walked the face of the Earth.
I’ll leave you with a few more words from one of our Facebook messages, and then a Bible verse that he asked me to pass along.
“I’m not even sure how it’s happening but you see it inside people, like a light just lighting them from the inside out. I lose track of the overabundance of blessings every day. God is good.” —Seth
“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.”