I’ve been thinking about my encounter in the Target parking lot ever since it happened on Tuesday. The what if’s, the should have’s and could have’s… If I had a second chance ‘I’d do it this way’ scenarios have played out in my mind over and over.
I meet with two friends almost every Wednesday. We share our lives and the struggles they contain and pray for each other. Well Wednesday I told them about my troubles on Tuesday and my disappointment on missing out on what seemed like yet another chance to hear God and take a leap… Because I’ve had lots of those experiences through out life and lots of stories like Tuesday’s… passing. Anyway, my friend Amanda prayed for another opportunity, a second chance.
It came along today.
My friend Edeanne and I met for lunch today downtown at a little deli/ place of all things sweet and delicious call How Sweet It Is. Lunch was a crazy time of corralling my children, mopping up spilled water and trying my darnedest to have an adult conversation. When it was clear Ava and Oakley would no longer contain themselves, we headed towards our cars. As we were walking down the street, a woman approached us.
She was a little hunched over and kind of shuffling along. “Excuse me… could you spare a couple of dollars so I could get something to eat?”
This time I didn’t hesitate. As I pulled out my wallet, I asked her what her name was… and in an attempt to have some conversation, “Are you from Duluth?” Looking back, that seems like a pretty lame question, but it’s the only one I can thing of to ask in situations such as that. The lady was eager to talk and somehow managed to get a pretty good summation of her situation out in about a minute thirty seconds. Her name was Christine. She grew up in Duluth, born and raised. She has been homeless for 5 months. She has had not good things happen to her since then. Being a woman on the streets is rough, there is no respect she told us. I asked her if we could pray for her and she lite up. “Oh I’d love that!” So then I asked if there was anything specific and she listed off a small list of physical troubles, which I had to chuckle a bit about in my head because most could be resolved if she would have snuffed out the cigarette she was smoking, but I didn’t mention that. Anyhow, we prayed for her right then and there on the street. She had tears streaming down her face.
It wasn’t a long prayer. I don’t think there was miraculous physical healing right off the bat, but I hope she felt… human… and noticed. I gave her the money, gave her a hug and told her to go get herself something good to eat. Who knows if that happened, but I don’t care. I hope in the three or four minutes we talked with her she felt Jesus near.
I’d say the second best part of all this is that God answered our prayer on Wednesday so quickly. And Edeanne was there to see it too, because she had been apart of the Wednesday prayer too. Seeing prayers answered builds my faith by leaps and bounds and gives me hope for my other requests… the “big ones” you could say. This was a big one too I guess. I kind of take Matthew 25:34-45 literally… and I want to be on the right side of things at the end.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
Ummm, hello, nobody wants to be hearing those words some day. Not me anyway. So I’ll keep trying to conquer my fears, take a chance when I see it, and hopefully teach my kiddos along the way. I’ve had plenty of mistakes to learn from, time to start applying the lessons I’ve learned the hard way.