The Day Jesus Walked up to My Car, Part Two

Posted: June 9, 2010 in Iglesia, Lessons Learned
Tags: , ,

Click here for Part One of this story.

Part Two:
Fast-forward three long days to August 29, 2007. Running about 10 minutes late for work, (which would get me there right on time, because I’m usually 10 minutes early), I’m pulling up to what’s normally a busy intersection, and I’m trying to fix my hair at the same time. Although this is an intersection of three streets, and it is usually semi-dangerous, it was noticeably empty this morning. Empty except for this mis-buttoned flannel shirt with a hairy belly and very dirty jeans sticking out of the bottom. I could smell him in my mind’s nose even though my windows were rolled up and he was about five yards away from my car. Watching him stagger around somewhat aimlessly, a mixture of anxiety and disgust tightened in my chest. So, I stopped my car several yards back from the intersection to keep my distance. He seemed to be crossing the street at this point anyway.

As I was checking my reflection in my mirror, my peripheral vision noticed him walking toward my window. Without turning my head, I let my foot off the brake enough to inch the car forward to pass him (nice trick I picked up in this urban area), hoping he’d get the hint. He didn’t. I saw his belly in my side-view mirror swaggering up to the car and I quickly glanced up at the light. Still red. I’m thinking, “God, he’s probably going to ask me for money, but he seems drunk, and I don’t know what he’d do with it. And what if he’s really crazy?” My eyes darted around and I noticed that I was still alone at the intersection with this man. And the light was still red. He’s at my window now. My anxiety heightens as his hairy navel stops literally six inches from my face. Keeping my eyes locked on the red light, I wave my left hand up by my head in a stern “go away” fashion. And he did. And the light turned green. And God slapped me across the face as I made my way through the intersection.

See, I had been feeling pretty good about myself as far as compassion was concerned. I gave money to the church, which I know gives money to the homeless, and I committed to giving money when I saw the homeless organization people. I was doing my part! It was certainly more than most people do; I knew that for sure. I was even so sure of myself that I cut out that little picture of my homeless Jesus and kept it in agreement with the sentiment. And then I’m driving along, completely self-absorbed, and Jesus walks up to my car absolutely out of the blue. I never even let him say a single word to me. I never even saw his face. I refused to connect enough humanity with that sloppy, dirty clothing to even dignify him with a level look in the eye. I still, ultimately, don’t have a clue what he was going to say to me. I waved him off like you’d shoo away a fly.

Do you think I’m being too hard on myself? I was a woman alone who felt scared by an intimidating man approaching my vehicle! In that situation, I simply did what was best for my own safety! I couldn’t have known what his intentions were, and I have to go with my gut in these situations! And he probably would have taken my money and drank or smoked it away. Maybe.  I certainly made all those excuses to myself.

But maybe I could have looked at him the way Jesus looks at him and taken two seconds to stop and think. EMPTY intersection. If he was the slightest bit aggressive, I could have run the red light! Maybe he really was just starving. Maybe he was lost. Maybe he just needed one good meal because he was feeling disoriented from lack of food. And I didn’t even have to give him money! That’s what kills me in all this! If I had taken that two seconds to think, I would have remembered that my mother-in-law had just mailed me a Subway gift card to use “any time [I] need a lift.” So God, in all His wisdom, knew that I thought I was a pretty nice person. And He orchestrated the perfect circumstances for the claims of my head to come face-to-face with the reality of my heart.

Jesus showed me my heart in a way that literally broke it. I haven’t felt convicted by the Spirit like that probably in years – if ever. Sure, I’ve felt correction and guidance. But something like this? Sometimes, you feel gentle nudging by the Spirit. Sometimes it’s so gentle, or else you’re so self-absorbed, you feel nothing at all. And sometimes, He lets you alone to let you see how disgusting your nature is, and then walks right into your soul and spiritually and emotionally breaks you into little pieces.

And I have no idea if that poor man ever got any food, or if that was even what he wanted, or if it was actually an angel of the Lord sent to test me. Whether human or angel, I know without a doubt in my mind that he was a test that I failed so miserably. And do you want to know what I realized later is even worse? Even though I realized my error within a block of where he was standing, I didn’t go back. It literally didn’t occur to me; I was late to work.

Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

~Matthew 25:41-45

~LG

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Comments
  1. katdish says:

    You did what millions of people do every single day. The difference is that you were convicted by your encounter. Yes, you’re being hard on yourself, but you always are.

  2. “And then I’m driving along, completely self-absorbed, and Jesus walks up to my car absolutely out of the blue. I never even let him say a single word to me. I never even saw his face.”

    I’m not soon going to forget these posts. But my toes hurt.

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