God's Surprising Giving Encounter

I was driving home from Planet Smoothie.  Stopped at a red light, I watched a not-too-old man wheel his chair slowly across the street in front of me.  The wheelchair was in poor repair—the wheels themselves ragged and worn.  He used his legs to propel himself awkwardly—I thought it was strange.

The light changed and I turned.And then I heard it.  “Give him some money.”  It is my normal practice to give to anyone who asks, according to Matthew 5:42.    But he hadn’t asked.  I was in a hurry.  And the smallest bill I had was a fifty. There was a lot of traffic on the street I turned into—barely moving. I was impatient, but the voice in my head—and heart—said “Stop.”  So I turned into the gas station and swung across to the street I had been on as this man slowly wheeled his way up it.  I stopped and got out of the car, $50 bill in hand, and approached the low hedge between the station and the sidewalk. “Hello, Sir.  God said I should stop and give you this.”  A smile spread across his face as he said “Thank you.”

I turned to leave, having obeyed God’s word to me.But there was more.

He said, “Don’t leave.”  He asked if he could give me an intelligence test—just for fun.  Okay.  What harm in that.  He asked me question after question—and I surprised him by answering every one correctly.  Finally he stumped me with the last one. I turned to leave. He said, “Don’t leave.” So he told me about his successful life, followed by illness and two years in the hospital.  They wanted to cut his leg off, but he said no.  Hence the wheelchair. He asked if I could really afford to give him $50.  I thought to myself, “Not really,” but clearly he needed it more than I did.  He said it would help him with food and his shelter in the alley where he lived. I turned to leave. He said, “Don’t leave.”

I told him I needed to get home.  He asked if I would go on a date with him.  I replied that my husband probably wouldn’t like that.  He asked about my family, my children.  When he learned I had grandchildren, he wanted to know about each one. Then he said, “I’m just so lonely, you know.  Asking about children and grandchildren always gets someone to stay and talk." So I stayed and talked a little more.  He asked why I stopped and how I heard from God.  We talked about the Lord, about his faith and my faith.

He told me his name—James—and I prayed for James. Then we said good-bye. I turned to leave.

And prayed for him all the way home. I was grateful to ease his loneliness just a little, to help meet a financial need in a small way. Wondering what else I could have done.  “Lord, help me to hear Your voice, to recognize needs, to give cheerfully, to know what You want me to do. “ I asked the Lord to surprise James with blessing and goodness. What about you?  When has God surprised you with a giving encounter?

C2014 Judy Douglass