There is a shaded area near my job. People park there under the beautiful tall shade trees during lunch and also get free Wi-Fi from the local grocery store. It is one of my favorite places to go during that hour because I can roll the windows down and not have to run my car. I know you’re probably reading this and thinking that this is not very exciting. Stay with me…
As I pulled into my regular shaded area on this very hot day I was enjoying my nice cool car with a cup of cold ice tea. I suddenly noticed that I was sharing the tree with someone. On the other side was a homeless woman sleeping on a blanket. The blanket had seen better days as had the women.
My first thought was maybe she does not want to be bothered. Second thought, maybe she’s dangerous. Third and most persistent thought, she needs a cold cup of water.
After sitting for another 10 seconds and realize that the nagging at my heart was not mine but God, I pulled the car around and drove to the local drugstore. I said a prayer, “Jesus, speak to me and tell me what she really needs.” So I walk into the grocery store on my lunch break, looking like a complete clueless person strolling down every aisle, and asked Jesus to speak to me.
I got the usual things toothpaste, deodorant, baby wipes, chapstick…. But then I felt God say she needed a pillow. So I went and found one. I then picked up some cold soda and water and I was starting to buy snacks. Every time I would pick up a bag of pretzels or peanuts or anything hard I felt God say no. So I started buying soft things like soft oatmeal cookies, soft apple pie’s, soft bread etc. I loaded up my hands went to pay and prayed to God that she didn’t leave the tree area while I was at the store.
I drove back under the tree canopy and cautiously got out of my car. I didn’t want to startle the woman. As I approached she woke up and I told her I got her a few things. She started to cry and immediately went through the bags. “You got me deodorant, a pillow and lipstick,” she proclaimed. “I needed these things.” Next she said, “It’s so hot out here but I have to sleep during the day because it’s too dangerous at night, thank you for the cold water.” But it wasn’t until she stood up and gave me a huge toothless grin that she said, “and I can eat all these things.”
I wasn’t ready for the next moment but she came up and wrapped both arms around me. It wasn’t the usual quick hug one receives upon meeting someone for the first time- it was a full bear hug with her face smashed against mine. I even think she picked me up a little in that minute long squeeze. She kept saying, “I will pass the favor onto someone else.”
What I thought she needed was a cold glass of water… what she really needed was someone to love on her. What I thought was craziness in me picking out all that soft food was Jesus actually taking care of her needs.
What I though I was doing was just being nice, but what I was really doing was being obedient. He takes care of every need for us even when we can’t see. He was taking care of that woman and I’m thankful that I listened. She is worth something to God. She has value.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matthew 6:26 NASB
This is for the same reason that my husband and I have started the paperwork for adoption. We don’t know where all the money is coming from to finish the process. We don’t even know yet who the child is that will eventually be placed in our arms… we are just being obedient to something He told us long ago. He will take care of the needs, money and more because we know He sees value in that child that will one day be apart of our family.
Next time you feel God asking you to act, don’t think your crazy, just meet the need. Maybe it’s a cup of cold water, maybe it’s hugging a homeless stranger under a shade tree or praying with a co-worker or more…but it’s all about obedience. When you obey what God is asking you to do the reward is greater than you can imagine.