Okay, some of you nay-sayers are going to say what happened to me was a coincidence. "You perceived the answer because you WANTED to, not because it was an actual answer from God." Well, you can believe that if you want. I shared a comment made by my five year-old earlier this week; he said, "Mom, did you know that God can do miracles? Even right now, He can do them anytime He wants to!" And if He can do miracles anytime He wants to, He can certainly send me a sign!
Here's what happened. I had just gotten groceries at Publix. It was lunchtime, so there was a lot of traffic in Athens. I moved to pull onto Barnett Shoals, and saw a man sitting on a bucket on the corner. He looked clean, had a small drinking cooler with him, and a sign that said, "Please help; homeless. Looking for work, too-Landscaper." Now normally, I don't even think about stopping to give them money. I've heard of ones that are just panhandling, those that have a house and everything else and do not NEED to be on the street corner begging. But this time was different...
I pulled into a different lane so that I wouldn't be pulling right up next to him, but he stayed on my mind. I started to drive off but then felt like I needed to pull over and pray about this. I sat for a few minutes, and Jessie started saying, "Are we getting out?" I told her I didn't know; I was at Rite Aid, and thought about going in and buying a pop, getting cash, and taking it back to him. I doubted what I was feeling, though, so I started praying. "God, if you REALLY want me to give this man some money, please send me a sign. I know you've got better things to do, but I really need to hear from you. I need to know for sure that I'm doing the right thing." When I stopped, nothing was any clearer. I still felt conflicted. I was listening to The Fish (Christian radio station, for those who aren't local), and they had been advertising. The next song that came on, though, stopped my doubts completely..."Lead Me to the Cross". Why would that song make it clearer, you ask? It's the song I'm singing for the invitation on Sunday morning at church. "Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out..."
Needless to say, we got out, I got $10 cash with a pop at the register, and took it back to him. I even told him, "I prayed, and God told me to give you this." He thanked me profusely, told me "God bless you," and also told me that he's starting college classes soon to try to get back on his feet. I pulled away in tears, feeling like I had done the right thing, hearing Laura Story's "What a Savior" playing on the radio.
I struggled with whether to post about this, because I did NOT want to toot my own horn, so to speak; I know we should give without any thought or expectation of renumeration, whether material or through admiration or approval of others. But then I thought that maybe, just maybe, someone reading this needs to hear about what happened. Sometimes we need reminding that GOD ANSWERS PRAYER. Sometimes it might be very evident; sometimes it might happen right away. Honestly, this is probably the absolute quickest it's happened for me, ever in my life. Sometimes it might take days...months...even years. Even if the answer is no, be faithful--when it's the right time, you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And if you think I sound like I know what I'm talking about--I'm a mess. If you know me, you know that. That's why this incident, this answer, just floored me--I'm flawed! I'm a sinner! Why do *I* deserve to hear directly from HIM?? Because he loves me, that's why. Be faithful, my friends; know that God loves you, too. He wants to help you with everything. Big things, like job choices and who to marry, but also small things...like whether to give a stranger money. Say a prayer for that stranger, would you? Whether he's truly in need or not (and if you know he's not, please don't tell me!!), he needs it!!