Sometimes I want to give up.
I look at these people, standing in the hot sun, waiting in long lines up to three afternoons a week, just to get a couple Walmart bags of free leftover produce from a grocery store or day-old bread from the bakery or whatever size bars of soap that some sweet soul donates along the way.
Are we helping? Does anybody change? What good are we really doing?
I don’t see the girl fall. It’s a hot Wednesday afternoon in Alabama. She’s in line with her mother and they’re not yet to the shaded side of the building.
She starts going down. A guy in line near her (I should know his name by now and also his twin brother’s but I don’t) sees it happening and rushes up. He catches her before she hits the ground.
Another lady in line (ugh, I don’t know her name either but I know her face; she has a job nearby and we give her clothes for work) also sees what’s happening and pulls out her cell phone. She dials 911.
I catch up with them as Winston is escorting them into the prayer room so she can sit down and cool off. Color is returning to her cheeks, but she still looks faint. Her mother is calm. She says this happens.
The paramedics find us and check her out okay. She refuses their offer of a trip to the hospital.
They say she can drink so I rummage around back and find a warm coke, thankful she asked for it that way. Winston and Mary Beth cut into the food line to gather several big bags of food for her so that her mom can take her home and not have to return later to get what she needs.
I wait with them in the prayer room, then finally remember to actually offer prayer. I see the mother is disabled herself—I’d noticed a heavy limp—and the daughter tells me that her mom not only cares for her, but for a total of fifteen people in two houses. Some are family, others are just strays who need help.
Lord, have mercy. I pray for healing, for rest, for peace.
But I’m also praying for me.
Lord, keep me hoping. Keep me compassionate. Keep me seeing grace.
A few more minutes pass. The mom leaves to get the car. I ask Ricky, a friend in line, to lend a strong arm to walk the girl outside to the car. He gladly does.
The girl thanks us for everything.
But I need to thank God for everything.
The outward happenings of any situation—whether a near fall or a line full of hungry people or a volunteer struggling to see grace—are minor details compared to the major things God is doing on the inside. Of each of us. The girl needing help. Her fellow compatriots in line. Her mom and the volunteers and the paramedics and Ricky. And you reading it all.
- Are we seeing grace or not?
- Are we believing grace?
- Are we being grace?
Lord, keep growing my heart to see more, believe more, be more. Grace.
We close her car door and the next thing needs to be done so we all move along. Nobody goes down today. . . .
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
God has shown you his grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift he has given you in a way that will best serve each other.
1 Peter 4:10 (ERV)
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sharing at OneWord365
- You can’t do it all – Choose less
- Crisis at your border