I lied a little bit. Not intentionally really. This new life I'm setting out on with God in 2013 is something He has been working in me for a while. That's why I can write about it. At first, it was so unfamiliar to me that I wasn't sure what was going on or if it was going to last. Now, I see that He is changing the fabric of my life, and because of Him, the change will continue. Now onto today's story, which actually happened last month...
It was a cold day in December. I was stopped at a busy intersection.
She held up a sign that said something like:
Have lost all but FAITH.
Want to WORK—
will do ANYTHING.
I had just started this new prayer of mine…telling God I would do anything for Him, if only He would show me what to do.
She was right there—overweight, a little beat up, reddish-black hair, but her clothes looked fairly new and nice—she didn’t look like the people who typically hold up signs.
Plus, her sign was so different.
She was offering to WORK, not looking for handouts.
I rolled down my window and introduced myself.
I asked her to meet me at a coffee shop around the corner to chat.
She gathered her stuff and came.
She smelled like smoke.
I offered to get her some coffee, she said “no thanks.” She carried in her big sign and her backpack; sweat sat on her forehead.
She looked different, different from most people sitting around us.
They were rich; she was desperate.
For whatever you think of people who "fly signs" (that's the term she taught me), my time with her that day impressed one thing on me: They may beg so that they do not have to “work to earn” an honest day’s living, but they are desperate.
What else would drive a human being (that has an innate sense of dignity inside) to humble herself in such a way that she would ask for a handout of any kind?
So that is what I learned.
And if there is anything I heard in my time with her, it was how things had gone bad: She had lost her job weeks ago and savings were running out.
She had a sad story to tell me about cancer and a family who lived in Australia and an addiction she had beaten.
Could I believe it? I don’t know.
She seemed eager to work. I wrote down her skills and her number. I emailed a few people to see if they knew of any work. I got more than three very promising responses. I called her Saturday night. She was excited. I was going to pick her up Sunday morning for church, though she was a Buddhist.
And so I drove all the way to Garland by myself to get her that morning.
It was strange, seeing a different part of Dallas than I had ever really seen before, except maybe from the highway.
I pulled onto her street. Three precious children were playing outside, on Sunday morning, looking joyous.
The homes were small—the area was decent but clearly poor nonetheless.
When I found her home, I saw a car in the driveway.
My heart sank.
She had said that she didn’t have transportation; she only got anywhere through the bus system.
I called her anyway. I got her voicemail.
Her voicemail’s voice was another woman’s voice who clearly lived in the home with her, based on the content of the voicemail message.
She had insinuated she lived alone.
I called again, to be sure.
Still hoping she might come, I left a message letting her know I had come for her like I promised.
Like we had agreed upon the night before.
It all didn’t add up.
But I did get to talk to the precious children across the street. And God decided to teach me some valuable lessons in the process…
- People are seeking God all over the place, some of them don’t know it’s God they’re seeking, but they are.If I am Christ’s ambassador to a lost and dying world (and I am, and so are you if you are in Christ), then He can open my eyes to those who are looking for Him.
I might have been duped this time, but all was not lost.
- Through the Danielle mishap, God showed me that instead of stopping for anyone, anywhere on the side of the street, I needed to pray that He would help me see the world through His eyes.He knows the needy—He also knows the needy that He has for me to help. I think I helped Danielle because I knew God was calling me to help people, but not necessarily because God led me to Danielle.Danielle taught me that God will lead me to people.
He has started leading me to lots of them…
*Danielle is not her real name. For what happened with Danielle, click here.