Went to Whole Foods today. Had to pick up some laundry detergent, and that store is the only one nearby that carries the specific brand I use for washing cloth diapers.
On the way there, stopped at a red light, and a homeless man was standing practically right outside of my window. He was leaning against the wall, just staring down. No panhandling, no signs pleading for food or drink. Just standing there. I looked around in my car for the “blue bags” that our church puts together to hand out to folks like him in need. They don’t have much; some peanut butter crackers, fruit snacks, water, and a way to connect to our church. Couldn’t find one. I was desperately turned around in my seat feeling the floorboards. Empty.
The light turned green, and I drove off feeling that I had missed an opportunity. It doesn’t take much to share love with someone in need. I resolved that I would go to the store as planned, pick up an extra box of fruit bars or something, some water, and drive back to where the man was when we got out. Shopped, checked out, and remembered I’d forgotten the snack. Ran over to the snack bar, grabbed a bottle of water and a slice of hot pizza to go, and dashed to the car.
As we were driving, I saw him walking. Based on the way the streets are set up in that area, it would have taken me close to 10 minutes to get back to him, but with him walking, who knows if I would have found him…
I resolved to try anyways, and ended up taking a wrong turn. This wrong turn led me far away from my intended goal.
“Great”, I now thought. What was I supposed to do with this? Could it be that the Lord just knew I’d be too tired to make my own kids lunch??? 🙂
I eventually get turned around and going in the right direction, when I see an old woman, crossing a potentially busy street. She was not at a corner, she did not have a sign, she was just walking. I was on a street where to slow down (never mind stopping) is inadvisable. Doesn’t matter.
In an instant, I knew that the lunch I had intended for the man I saw, was actually for her. I slowed down, realized there were NO cars even anywhere near me, and came to a stop beside her. I asked her if she would like some lunch, and a combined look of surprise and need crossed her face. I was able to hand her the still hot pizza, and the bottle of water, STILL with no cars approaching.
My lesson learned?
Listening to the Lord is worth every sidetrack, every interruption of plans, every extra expense.
This morning I had done my Bible study, and the the verse I read was Job 33:14. “Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it.”
After my time of study, I had resolved to make today a day that I listened, and obeyed, the first time I recognized the Lord directing my path. I realized that I am a person who listens to God selectively. I pick and choose what fits with my schedule/comfort level/perceived ability, and basically ignore the rest. I also realized that I don’t WANT to be like this. And so, as with most resolutions, the Lord gave me an opportunity to act.
I had many reasons to ignore this prompting.
1. I looked for the blue bag… didn’t have one… “oh well”.
2. Shopping with 3 children close to lunchtime? Could have used them as an excuse (again).
3. Took a wrong turn…
4. As we’re finding our way back on track, my oldest starts literally screaming about needing to go to the bathroom. My stress level going up tends to make me blow off any prompting of the Lord. I figure I have enough going on, why add more?
And these are just a few possible reasons to plug my ears.
But today, this time, I didn’t, and I somehow know without being told that my heavenly Father is proud of me.
Oh Lord, may more of my days be given over to YOUR purposes…