I was in the left turn lane heading home from a small grocery run to Walmart. I looked over to my right and saw her standing there, bushy dry blonde pony tail, jeans, a bright red gas can at her feet, and a cardboard sign. "Need money for gas. God bless you," it read in bold black letters.
My mind began to spin as I looked shamefully away. Why was she there? What brought her to the corner of a main highway and a shopping center entryway to beg for money? Was it drugs? Mental health issues? Rape or abuse? The list of reasons went on and on in my mind.
But then it hit me: it doesn't really matter what her reason is.
She really stood at the corner of desperation and shame. No matter what brought her to that place, the emotions would be the same. I can't imagine feeling that desperate... one in which I put marker to cardboard and hold it beneath my face as strangers ride by and make their judgements.
In that moment, I wished I had some cash on me. I never have cash. But I would have given anything to hand her a few dollars. I would have told her, "I hope you find your way back home soon." Because, when I think about it, most of us have looked like her on the inside. Maybe we haven't seen that low of a time in the flesh, but spiritually, most of us have reached the point where we believe we've exhausted all our funds and options. And then He drives by as we're standing there on that corner of desperation and shame, and He stops. He doesn't only give us money, but He gives us a ride, a place to stay, a hot meal and a smile.
So this afternoon, I am feeling blessed. Thankful. Taken care of. Not just in the physical and financial sense, but in the spiritual as well. I guess that makes me doubly blessed. But she will haunt me for a few days. I will wonder if she ever got what she needed. I will wonder if she needed what she got. But mostly, I will wonder if she knows Him.
I pray that she will find her way Home soon.