Sunday, January 21, 2018

I Believe His Name Was Don

I believe he said his name was Don. 

It was one of those extremely cold and windy days last Friday when I was headed home from Brookshires in my red Jeep. I needed to hurry home to meet a friend who had agreed to help me with something heavy and I k
new they were already there waiting for me. As I headed south on 115, I passed a man with his coat pulled tight, head down avoiding the wind walking north towards town.

As I passed him, I recall hearing these words in my head, "What if that was Me (God), Liz?" I spent the next three miles reasoning that God wouldn't want me picking up a stranger on the side of the road....I knew nothing about him.....I was in a hurry to get home.....he was headed in the opposite direction as me.....this just wouldn't work for me today. But I heard those words yet again, "What if that was Me, Liz?" 

I pulled over. And right there....smack dab on the side of 115, I prayed. I reasoned with God that I would turn around, though I didn't want to, but if that was not His voice I heard and if I wasn't suppose to pick this stranger up, then he would be gone when I retraced the last 3-4 miles. But if he was still walking, to please keep me safe as I gave this stranger a warm ride into town. I assure you, I also prayed those 3-4 miles back that he wouldn't be there......but there he was. DANG.

As I pulled over and asked if he needed a ride, he said "YES....Thank You!". He told me his name....he told me he was 47....and he asked me if my teeth were really all mine. He told me he was headed to Brookshires for a loaf of bread and that the bicycle he normally rides had a flat and he couldn't afford to have it fixed. And - He - Stunk - Up - My - Jeep. 

We chatted about how he had come from Greenville a few weeks prior and how his teeth weren't his. He just seemed like a guy with some mental challenges and....maybe....because I knew it wasn't my idea to pick him up in the first place and that God was protecting me, I never felt in danger with this stinky guy. As I let him out at Brookshires, he shook my hand and thanked me. 

This past weekend, there has been much chatter on Facebook about this same guy. How he had tried to open a car door that didn't belong to him....that he asked people for money....that he just didn't "look" right and should have been shot when his hand hit the car door...or at the very least, taken to the county line and dropped off.

I don't know why God encouraged me to pick this stranger up that cold day. I don't know if he truly is dangerous or just a little mentally challenged. It doesn't matter. I felt the breathe of God whispering into my soul that day and I obeyed....even when I truly, emphatically didn't want to.

And maybe....just maybe....I picked up an angel that day.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

His Eye Is On You

"His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

Early last summer, I noticed a precious nest of baby sparrow eggs in the eaves of our boathouse.  Each day, I would head to the boathouse, climb up on a deck bar stool and peek into the nest.  Five eggs.  Then four eggs and one pink, featherless, baby.  Then three eggs and two hatched babies.  Each day, I would race out at first light to sneak a peak at the nest in the eaves until all five babies had been born....and, of course, snap a dozen pictures while I was at it.

I had the mother and father's routine down.  I knew when they would head out for food....I knew where they anxiously parked themselves until I quit snapping pictures of their babies and left.  I watched their babies grow from squawking infants into starving toddlers.....and finally into teenagers too big for the nest and preparing to fly their tiny bodies away from home.  They were part of my family....and I was part of theirs.  I named them all.

Then one hot summer morning, as I was dragging the barstool to its usual vantage point, it startled these five teenage siblings and they attempted to fly out of the nest for the first time.  One flew to the deck table...another flew to the nearby boat...another flew west and landed in the water and two I never found.  Devastated, I tried to find them all and somehow undo what I had just done.  I grabbed the net and fished the one bird out of the water who was barely breathing and quickly decided I needed to back away and let the parents take over.

I don't know what ever became of our sparrow family...they never came back to the nest and I cried every day for a week....I still cry when I think about that day.  But I am reminded that I'm not the only one who cries when a sparrow is lost.  The One who created me; who keeps the planets in their orbits, is also acutely aware of a tiny sparrow that falls to the ground.  

"What is the price of five sparrows - two copper coins?  
Yet God does not forget a single one of them.
And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  
So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." 
Luke 12:6-7

And if He cares that much for these five sparrows He formed and knit together in their mother's egg, can you imagine how much more He cares about you in this broken world?  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Best Is Yet To Come

Dear Father,

As we end the chapter titled 2017 in the book of our lives, we find empty white pages ahead of us in Chapter 2018.   We know we have nothing to fear in the mystery of the unknown days before long as we keep our eyes focused on You and not the world.  

I thank You for this past year......for the trials, for the grace, for the arms with nail scars on them that have held us as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death so many times.  All these things remind us how much we need You every day, every minute, every second.  

I thank You we have Hope......because we know this earth is not our home.  We are mere travelers passing through this life on earth so we can arrive Home to spend eternity with You.  I thank You that this time on earth is merely a sub-section in the book of our lives....and the relationship we have with You here, determines our relationship with You in eternity.  I pray every person praying this same prayer.....chooses You...just as You chose them.... to spend eternity with.  May they feel Your hand reaching out to them, guiding, leading and whispering the direction they should go.  And when we take a wrong turn....may we hear Your still-small-GPS-voice guiding us back to the right road.  

I thank You for Light you provide us in the those times when grief overwhelms us and fear grips us like a vise.  You have assured us Your tears are mixed with ours during these times and we know its always the greatest friend whose tears connect with ours.  You are the truest of friends and You walk through the mud of this life with us whether we know it or not.....whether we ask You to or not.  

I thank You for Your Love.......a love we can't yet understand.  A love that goes to the ends of the earth to rescue us from the evil one who longs to see us fail.  We live in a sinful world that is creaking and groaning like an old car nearing the end of its life.  But You are the mechanic, Father......You have the tools and expertise to keep us going.  And You hear us ask, "How much longer, Father", and with a smile on Your lips, you answer, "Just a little bit further....we're almost there."

May the pages of 2018 be filled with Thankfulness.....knowing we are almost Home.