In Three Parts
Read Part I here.
One of my Lenten resolutions—the main one, actually—is to live in the moment and respond with love to the people and events that God sends me.
This is much harder than it seems.
As you well know.
Usually this goal is put into practice among my family—i.e., the seven other people with whom I share a living space. These are the people who rarely see life in the same shades of black & white as me and who almost always challenge me to think outside the box. Most important of all, they are my opportunity to grow in unconditional love…
…so that when I leave the house, I have some to share.
That’s the goal, anyway.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to do the grocery shopping. The store was not as packed as you’d expect on a weekend—no crowds of people in the aisles, lots of room to push one’s cart. Since I didn’t have any of my children with me, I thought I would be a very efficient shopper.
The good Lord, though, had other plans.
As I turned my cart down the very first aisle—bread, buns & condiments—I heard the sharp, angry words of a woman at the other end. She was pushing a little girl in a red plastic car, and it was at this little girl that she was screaming.
“Would you be quiet?!” she raged. “I am sick and tired of your damn complaining! I bought you some cookies and I don’t want to hear another word! Do you hear me? Now shut up!”
I was the only other person in the aisle, apart from an employee stocking the shelves. It was unbelievably awkward.
The woman brushed past me and I kept my head down. I tried to hold her up in prayer but it was hard—really hard—to stay focused, as I could hear her verbal lashes throughout the store. I could see other shoppers steering clear; I could see the surreptitious glances.
Would it help if I approached the woman? Smiled understandingly? Interceded? “You have to do something,” said a voice in my heart.
The thing is, I didn’t want to.
I thought of a story that Jeff Cavins had told during one his Bible studies. He used to work in a gas station, (obviously this was at the start of his ministry), and one day noticed a businessman at the pump. “Tell this man that I love him,” God said. Jeff heard the words loud and clear in his heart but tried (vainly) to ignore them.
The man came in to pay for his gas. “Tell him,” the voice repeated insistently. “Tell him that I love him.”
Jeff squirmed. “Um…sir?”
The man glanced up.
“I just wanted to tell you that Jesus loves you.”
Bam! The man slammed his hand down on the counter. “What is with you people?!” he fumed. “You are the third person today to tell me that!” He stormed out of the gas station, the door jangling noisily behind him.
Obviously, God had plans for that man. Obviously, God loved him.
“You have to do something.”
To be cont.