As I’ve been proofing Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (from Worthy Publishing and Lifeway) and working on the accompanying Bible study, I’ve been continuing to pray for wonder and live wide-eyed to the way God laces our everyday life with His wonders.
Recently, we traveled through Baltimore on our way to an event at Sandy Cove. We stopped by Safeway to grab our travel road supplies (water, fresh fruit, and baked chips). Walking out of the grocery store, Leif and I saw a woman on her cell phone with three kids in tow. She complained that there weren’t enough beds to serve the women in need in the city. Leif and I looked at each other, unsure of the best way to respond, and returned to the car.
About to drive away, we saw Panera in the strip mall next to Safeway and popped back out of the car. As we walked toward Panera, we discussed what we just saw. “Was it real or a con?” we wondered. Yep. We’re guilty of watching one too many episodes of Dateline, too. The situation seemed a little too perfect. On her cell phone. Talking loudly. Outside a busy grocery store.
Sitting down to dinner, we both prayed and waited for a sense of the best way to respond. Then. She appeared. Again. She came into the restaurant with her three kids to use the restroom. Leif and I talked again about how to assist her, if we were the ones to help. We debated the pros and cons of getting this woman a hotel room. If we put the charge on a credit card and something went terribly wrong, we’d be responsible. And a lot could go wrong.
Neither of us had a tremendous sense of peace about what to do or how to do it.
The parable of the man whose body was left for dead along the road (Luke 10:29-37) came to mind. I calculated dozens of reasons not to help that guy–including getting conned.
Leif pulled out cash and asked, “How much should we give her?”
A number came to mind.
Walking out of Panera, we saw the woman walking into the liquor store. Again, Leif and I looked at each other–maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
But then she emerged without a purchase.
I took a gulp and walked toward her.
“What is this?” she asked as I shoved the money into her hand.
“Cash,” I said. “Bless you!”
“Who are you–an angel?” she asked, welling up with tears.
“No,” I smiled.
She pointed to her son and explained that he had autism. “But he knows how to love,” she said. “Can he give you a hug?”
This boy wrapped his arms around me, my face squished in the nape of his neck, and I knew I’d encountered the wonder of God.
Driving away, Leif and I prayed for this woman and her children. A renewed sense of gratitude filled my heart. Sometimes we have to take risks–including getting conned–in order to love people and be wonderstruck by the love of God.
When have you taken a risk and were wonderstuck by God’s love?
**Photo courtesy of here