Monday, October 26, 2015

God-Thing: Looking for Ways to Love

A couple of nights ago, I was feeling really sick and pretty much not up to doing anything. I couldn't eat much, but I was able to keep down a Naked fruit juice drink for dinner. I had plans to leave for Nashville at five the next morning, so I decided I should buy another fruit juice drink to have in the morning since my stomach seemed to be able to handle it. I had already changed into pajamas and felt just plain terrible, so I convinced my little brother to come with me to the store so he could run in and get it for me, and I wouldn't have to get out of my car. So, at ten o'clock at night, in pajamas, I headed for Kroger. 

We got there right before it closed, and my brother went in to find the drink. He called me twice to make sure he was getting the right one, and assured me he had read the nutrition label to make sure I wasn't allergic to it. He came back out, and I started to drive off when he noticed a homeless man outside of the other entrance. I don't give money to homeless people because I don't feel like that is the best way to help them since they could spend the money on drugs, but I like to look for ways that I can help. We happened to have some snacks in the car, so we gave the man some granola bars and coffee cake, since that was all we had. I started to drive off, but felt that we should go back to help him more. I gave my little brother some more money and told him to go buy the guy something to drink. When my brother walked by him, he asked the man what kind of drink he would like, but the man said we'd helped enough and wouldn't accept my brother's offer to buy him a drink. 

My brother got back in my car and we started to leave the parking lot, but my brother suggested we go to the fast food restaurant at the other end of the parking lot to get the man a gift card. I parked and, and my brother ran inside to get the gift card. While my brother was inside, I saw the homeless man starting to leave, so I got his attention and explained that we wanted to give him a gift card. While my brother bought the card, I was able to talk with the man. I found out his name is Willie and he frequents this Kroger. I told him I live nearby, and come to this Kroger almost daily, but I'd never seen him. Then he told me he recognized me, and that I normally walk really fast through the parking lot. He said he recognized my brother, too.

After my brother came out and gave him the gift card, he thanked us and told us we are beautiful people. We told him we'd be praying for him, and then headed home. As we pulled out of the parking lot, we saw the man hurry inside the restaurant. On the drive home, I asked my brother if he had ever seen the man before, and he said yes, but that he'd never talked to him. How many times had we both just walked right by Willie when we could have helped him?

I explained to my little brother how that night was a total God-thing. I don't normally talk to homeless men when I'm alone. For safety reasons, I don't really talk to any guy when I'm out alone at night in Memphis. Because I was sick, my little brother came with me, and God used us to show His love to Willie. If I hadn't been sick, neither one of us would have been at Kroger that night. If we hadn't been planning to travel the next morning, we wouldn't have had snacks in my car, and we wouldn't have had anything to give Willie. God orchestrated that night so beautifully, and I am so grateful God gave my brother and I the opportunity to shock WIllie with Christian love. I am praying that I can see him again. I've been back to that Kroger several times since that night (twice today, actually) and haven't seen him. I pray that I never pass by him again. It was so convicting when he recognized me as the lady that walks quickly past everyone in the parking lot. How many times have I just walked by him? It is my prayer that I never forget to look for ways to love. 

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