Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When God says, "No Take-Backs" -- Hope Chronicles 42

Sorry gals! I just realized after visiting Leila's site that I missed 8 and read 9. But I like this post anyway. I'll try to post on 8 soon!

Perhaps it is my imagination, but I think I hear God calling in delight, "No take backs!" The thought both makes me smile and tremble a bit. What is it that I am signing up for?

After a cold, wet, gray, dreary Sunday, the clear skies and warm weather were extremely welcome on Monday. For the past 6 months, I've only take a half hour lunch by choice. My schedule is shifting some and I'll now be taking a normal hour for lunch. Knowing I would have the whole hour, raised the question for me on Monday as to what to do with that time. I can easily eat in 15 minutes and have typically read during the other 15 minutes. Math has never been my strong suit but even I can figure that left 30 minutes.

I've lost 17lbs since the first of the year and plateaued there. With the turn in the weather, I decided that extra 30 minutes would be ideal for walking. So, I ate my sandwich and apple while I did 3 laps of an 8 block downtown perimeter in those 30 minutes. (How many city blocks in a mile?)

Since I had already eaten, I considered another lap but opted for a spot on a bench in sun instead. I needed to prepare for Yes to God Tuesdays at Lelia's. We are on the final chapter of Lysa's book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.

It was a challenging chapter and a call to decision. I read it and closed the book and said, "Okay, God here we go. I don't know what will happen, but 'Yes.'"

Perhaps, God was afraid I would take it back but I am not at all use to immediate-response-answers to my prayers. I still had 15 minutes and I pulled out my phone to make a quick call., but before I could dial I heard "Do you have any change for a homeless vet?"

Generally, I do not respond well to these requests. Chalk it up to a number of years in social service and dealing with some who just don't seem to want to work. Oh, there were always a myriad of reasons but I often found gaps. They couldn't afford the bus token to get to parenting classes necessary for getting their kids back but I found myself behind them in line at the grocery store while they were buying a six pack. I don't want to be unfair. There are people who are just down on their luck. But after a bit, social service can make you tend towards cynicism.

Generally, my response is to avoid eye contact and hurry on. On Monday, both those rules got broken. I met his eyes immediately and he held my gaze. It was as if God changed the words "Do you have any change?" to "Are you serious about change?"

Surprisingly, I dug into my purse to find I had $8.00 with me. My gut reaction was to hand him $3.00 and keep the $5.00 bill. And God whispered, "Now, reverse the math." So my I-so-hate-being-conned-self handed him the five. It all took all of 60 seconds. He was rushing on, "I can show you ID so you know I'm a vet." I wanted to say, "Not necessary. Jesus gave the ID for you."

It would have been great if I had said that but I wasn't that bold. However, I did something else unprecedented for me in these situations. I gathered my coat and book in my lap and made room on the bench. "You can sit down if you would like."

For ten minutes, I lent him an ear. He told me that it's cold at night and it's horrible when it rains. He said that he hates asking for money and that he can't find a job. He said he gets lonely and there is no one to talk to. He read the title of the book, What Happens When Women Say Yes To God, and asked, "Do you believe that God stuff?"

My lunch was over, but I could say, "Yes, I really do."

Did I get conned? Perhaps. Maybe I'll never know for sure. But, it was worth $5.00 to hear God delightedly exclaiming, "No take-backs. I think we shall begin now." And so we begin the next leg of the journey with some change over lunch.

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Heather@Mommymonk said...

Oh, I'm glad you shared that story. I'm often cynical too, but what a blessing to give and trust God with the results.

Anonymous said...

Amy, that was a really great story... and a good reminder of what it means to say yes to God.
and isn't interesting that God immediatly put something in your path to see how serious you were about saying "yes." So many times I have found the same thing.
God bless you today!

tiggerdaisy said...

OOOOhhhhh, girlie! I love it! I have felt the same as you...no eye contact, not even a grunt of recognition. But one day, God told me to give a man some money and witness to him. In the whole process of talking to this man, I felt an overwhelming desire to ask the man how long it had been since he'd had a hug. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "A long time." I told him to get up and with that I gave him a hug. He held on for a few seconds, too. Not in a creepy way, but in a way that suggested that he was savoring every moment of the love being given to him. Just before he let go, he whispered "You must be a child of God." I simply responded, "Yes, yes I am." I was known for a while at church as the "Huggin' a bum" girl. I despised the teasing, because I knew I had done what God wanted me to do.

Long story short, Amy...I know where you've been and what it was to do what you did that day. And even though we don't know what they did with the money, we do know that we were obedient. And that, my friend, is all that matters! :)

Prayers and Blessings!

tammygirl said...

Thank you for this story and thank you for your blog. I just happened to find your blog...actually was led to your blog is a much more accurate account... and your inspiration to me is a refreshing river of emotions. I have been 'dormant' for some time and my walk of faith has weakened considerably. I have so much to be thankful for, but have lost sight. I intend to order the book you are just finishing and even though I work almost 60 hours per week and am in college, plus have a family, I know He will provide me with the time I need for HIM.
You are a blessing.Thank you.