It was a Saturday morning much like any other. Pedaling around a bike path, I listened to a podcast on social justice and the Gospel. Putting feet to our faith. Walking the talk. Silent amens crossed my mind as I made my way around the rough concrete path. I purposed to share the podcast with family and friends. Good stuff. Amen to serving others, living my faith.
And then it happened. A little 2-year old girl walking the path with her mother fell and scraped her knees on the rough road. The mother loudly yelled at her, “Get up! What’re you doing falling?” She pulled her up by the arm dragging the little girl as she screamed in pain and distress.
I rode quickly past them and was shaken to the core by the abrupt, unloving treatment of the little girl. A voice inside my head said, “Turn around and offer to help.” What? Lord, no. Don’t ask me to do that! “Remember the podcast? Remember Me telling you to live the Gospel?” The Voice was insistent.
So I turned my bike around and headed toward the still crying little girl and her mom. How would the woman respond to this strange woman sticking her neck into her business? As gently as I could, I asked, “May I help? I saw your little girl fall and wanted to know if I could help you.”
The woman swept the toddler into her arms and said, “No, thanks. She ok. She’s just afraid I’m going to hurt her when we get home.” Aghast, I tried to remain calm and spoke to the little girl, “Are you alright? Your knees will be ok. I love your pretty curly hair.” My mind raced to speak love into this tender little life.
Perhaps sensing no judgment on my part, the woman relaxed and told me of her plight. She was 46 years old, and the little girl was her 10th grandchild. She had her first son at 16 who recently was killed violently. I was overwhelmed with compassion for this young woman whose journey was so unlike my own. I wished her well and weakly said, “God bless you.” I was at a loss as to how to adequately serve this hurting grandmother and her tiny toddler. So I rode away on my bike.
My heart hurt as I silently prayed for this precious couple. Two people traveling through this life with a set of challenging circumstances that will undoubtedly continue to play a part in how they live. How would sharing the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, change their lives? Would it be enough? I’m convinced that God is our all in all…He’s adequate; He’s sufficient. But how much better would a life be with not only Jesus as Savior, but compassionate, loving Christians coming alongside the least of these, those who suffer, those whose lives are anything but easy.
God help me if I get to a place where I’m smug in my faith, complacent in my set of circumstances, and content to live my life of relative ease and comfort. O God, help me to discern unwaveringly, serve abundantly, and love lavishly. That’s my calling. Our calling.
by Barbara Beck