Yesterday I had to make a quick grocery run and a couple of errands. It was hotter than the face of the sun and I had already run into some snags. As I was rolling up the hill to a light that was turning red, I could see a young man in the median setting his backpack down and pulling out a cardboard sign.
As my car eased to the stop, his sign was up and the stress that was already stirring in me ramped up as a stream of thoughts ran through my mind. The light lasted a mere minute but I processed an hour’s worth of dialogue in my head and heart.
I have the mixed blessing of being able to think multiple thoughts at the same time. I know you are jealous. I thought perhaps in sharing them, you might be able to recognize your own conflict in similar situations for whatever good that might accomplish. And then I do have a point at the end.
* Since I was right next to him as in I could see him out of my peripheral vision, I felt slightly threatened because he was close to my window, young and apparently has been able to have access to a gym because he looked pretty strong.
This led me to think about how, even though I have never been accosted physically by a man, I carry a real live fear in me that the possibility always exists that I could be
Which carried over into how people might have a fear of someone or something even though they have never personally experienced it, just because there is convincing evidence it could happen. I thought about how we need to acknowledge that as legitimate and not dismiss because they have no actual part of it happening in their story.
- This stream of thought was followed by the consideration of the age old question, WWJD.
If Jesus were in this setting in my skin, would he reach over in our wallet and pull out some money and roll down the window?
What if I did that and he used the money for something harmful and what if he is one of those guys who is making a nice tidy sum and gets dropped off at his day job that he doesn’t have to file a tax return for? Would He have me say “sliver and gold I have not…(even though I did have silver and paper with me)…but I give you…and then share the gospel?
- Should I even be asking those questions? Is that judgmental of me? Am I judging this stranger as being unsaved and unscrupulous? Who do I think I am?
- At this point the Matthew West song about If not me than who-ooo-ooo-oooo? Started running through my head. Along with a panicky feeling of what if I did try to give him money and just as he was walking over the light changed and the driver behind me laid on the horn. Because the thought of someone honking angrily at me sent my blood pressure dangerously high and then…
Thankfully the light did change and I proceeded on down the road, where I began the process of evaluating my decision not to give him money and yes, heaped all manner of guilt on myself for loving money more than people. Sort of.
Because I still wondered how the people who are asking for money at corners always have access to nice squares of cardboard and a big marker and have better handwriting than a Kindergarten teacher.
And by this point, I was sweating profusely and exhausted from all the thoughts and emotions that happened in the 60 seconds of waiting for a green light.
Which brings me to my point.
While I would like to be like Jesus and show His love and grace and mercy all day, every day; I encounter a lot of situations and circumstances out and about and in my interactions with friends, family and strangers that are not clear cut.
I don’t always have all the facts and truth and wisdom needed to make 100% perfectly godly decisions. I get tired and hungry, I get anxious and fearful. Sometimes the things that sound right and true turn out to be deception.
And in the midst of all the overthinking, I can forget that Jesus must have been a pretty easy guy to walk with back when He was putting foot to sod here on planet earth. I rather doubt the people who traveled with Him on the daily and those who drug their families around lakes with nary a snack to munch on would have done so if He were not kind and funny and compassionate and patient.
So when I am getting all twisted up inside with my own spinning thoughts, I find it best to take a deep breath and then another one. I can talk to Him and trust that He still has things to teach me and I can know that He would understand that even if my actions sometimes get off, my heart is set on following Him.
We are a mixed bag of thoughts, experiences and feelings. It’s okay. He knows what we are made of. He came to save the likes of us. Praise Him <3