If you know me very well, you’ve probably heard me say, “I wish God would just write me a letter telling me my purpose, His plan for me, and how the rest of my life plays out.” I mean seriously, wouldn’t that be nice? Is this whole free will thing really all it’s cracked up to be? I’ve been secretly so frustrated when others say that Jesus talked to them, wondering why He seems to be so silent in my life. Even typing those words I can see the error of my thinking, but I just want each of you to hear my thoughts exactly as I think them. Who knows, maybe you can relate. Anyways, I was reminded tonight just how often God does show up in my life. Whispering to me so softly that many times I allow the drone of my hectic life to drown out his soothing voice. Today he spoke to me so clearly, through a cardboard sign on the interstate.
I was driving home in the rain, listening to Adele’s new song (about love lost of course), and thinking how absolutely sick I am. I’m telling you, this was a full “feel-sorry-for-caroline pity party. And that is so easy to do, for me at least. To focus on the negative and find a million reasons to give up. To stop fighting and blame it on circumstance. My life has had some bumps lately, and I have had to lay down my pride and ask for help more than once. I never stopped to consider that these people, so willing to help, were Jesus speaking to me. God has been whispering to me with every step through this valley. As I pulled off the interstate onto my exit, I noticed a man. I see homeless people all the time, but for some reason this one tugged at my heart strings. His sign was simple: “Homeless. I need help.” But there was something more to him: hood up to shield him from the rain, shoulders hunched, staring at his feet. It was clear to me in that moment that this is what desperation looks like. It was in that moment that Jesus’s voice got a little louder. Feed my sheep.
I would love to tell you that I got out right then and helped him, but that’s not how this story goes. You see, I was so focused on me, that I almost missed the mission. The thoughts running through my brain sounded something like this: “Its too cold, its raining, I’m sick and I need sleep, I don’t have money to just spend, Its too late I missed the chance.” Then, just as my road came into view, I felt it. I was so moved by this person in desperate need of help, but I did nothing to help. Just do something Caroline. So, I went to the gas station and made a quick care package. Nothing fancy, just what I could find. And I started walking back to the interstate.
I know I know, “You did NOT put yourself in this dangerous situation again, did you?” Oh I did.. Would you expect anything less? But here is where God showed up in a big way. Just as I was walking up to the man, my roommate just happened to pull off the interstate, see me walking, and stop her car. We literally approached this man at the exact same time. And as I got a chance to hold his hands and pray with him, I won’t lie to you: I was scared. Praying out loud makes me uncomfortable. REALLY uncomfortable. I stumble over words and never true feel like I articulate my message effectively. But to be honest, it didn’t matter to this man. We prayed there on the side of the road, in the rain, and that was good enough. For him, for me, and for our Savior.
I am not naive. I understand that I only gave one man enough food for one meal, and he is still homeless. I am not looking for a pat on the back or a round of applause. I know this was one time when I acted, in a world where there are thousands of opportunities to be the body of Christ daily. I tell you this to show you that I still struggle with my flesh daily, even hourly. I did not want to help, because it inconvenienced me. But there was never a convenient time for Jesus Christ to die on a cross to pay for MY mistakes. We are not called to be comfortable, we are called to be His hands and feet. Tonight I tuned in to what Jesus is saying to me, and I found that he is far from silent in my life. My life is the problem…too loud and filled with distractions. Can’t we all relate to that? There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus walked, and is walking, with me through my trials. I just had my eyes fixed on the storm. Its all about perspective.