Here is a story that's hard to tell without sounding like I'm parading my works of righteousness before men. But it does seem somewhat relevant to this post. And if you look closely, you'll see it's not about my works of righteousness at all, but about a woman named Lisa, and about God telling her something. Thing is, I can only tell you the bit I know about.
This afternoon, I had to mail my dad a bundle of papers. By rights, I should have mailed them yesterday. I busied myself with stuffing the priority mail envelope, sort of semiconsciously noticing a harried woman at the counter on the phone. As I turned around to wait my turn, I noticed that she actually had been using the post office phone and also that she was dripping wet. It has been pouring for most of the afternoon and all evening, so I could only assume she had locked herself out of her car or something. This very thing had happened to another woman in the same post office the last time I was there and it was precipitating.
I thought nothing more of this, being innately incapable of picking locks, and so I finished my postal business and drove off to run a few more errands. I had scarcely left the post office environs when I saw a figure walking along the side of the road. I occasionally walk along this particular Side-of-the-Road myself, but only when the sun is shining, and even then it's a little tricky because there's no sidewalk, and in the summer time if you edge off to avoid cars, you might end up in poison ivy. Today there was no poison ivy, but there was sure a lot of mud.
It took me a second, but I suddenly realised this was the woman from the post office. I wondered how far she had to go. I wondered why she was walking. I thought about the above-mentioned blogpost and about the dangers of picking up people I don't know.
Then I thought about how I would feel if for some reason I was stuck walking in the rain for miles, and how I would just about die for someone to have mercy and pick me up and give me a ride somewhere, but how I would know that people are just too afraid or too selfish and they never would. Five more cars passed her in my wake. But she was just a woman walking. I had this sense in my gut that I could drive by as usual but that if I did, I would never be able to stop wishing I had done something else.
So I turned around. And I rolled down my window. And I said, "Do you want a ride somewhere?" She hesitated, but not very long.
It turned out her name was Lisa, and she was headed in the direction I was going in the first place. She admitted to some "troubles," not least of which was the lack of a car, although she didn't divulge why she had already walked through about two other towns that day, in the rain, to get to where I met her.
She also couldn't stop talking about God and her finds. Just before I dropped her off, she said once more, "I was just praying, and wondering if God really hears me, and two seconds later I found this!" It was a little metal cross on a chain which had, apparently, been on the side of the road. She had also found a little trinket for her daughter. "And I thought, 'Maybe God really does listen . . . ' and then you came along, too! And the walk wasn't so bad after all. I mean, I got to spend all this time talking to God, and it was kind of an adventure."
I thought how great it is that God does listen, and how miraculous it is when He gets me to listen, too. I don't know that in the end my giving her a lift was worth as much to her as that little cross, but it didn't matter. I felt indescribably honoured to have gotten a glimpse of God's showing His presence and love to someone else. Probably this happens sometimes, when I actually get around to doing unto others what I would have them do unto me.