Walking down the street Saturday afternoon I was by myself. The sun was shining and welcome after several days of rain. Turning left at the fish-bowl type coffee shop standing at the end of the street I then follow the first street going right at the convenience store. Almost walking past the church a woman stops me.
Silver grey shimmers through her dark brown hair pulled into a loose pony tail. She is smaller in stature than I am and older. She has been wearing her clothes for more than a few days. Her eyes see me and the first words coming from her mouth surprise me:
“Are you a Christian? Thai? You speak?”
I cannot yet speak Thai. She wants very much to go inside the church building. The gate is locked. I do not have a key.
Using the phone numbers I have, I try to contact someone that can speak Thai. The credit on my phone is gone. No money left. I motioned with her to accompany me to the convenience store where I can put more onto my phone. She knows that we meet for church on Sundays at 4 and says she will come.
|This is what the church looks like on Sundays during worship|
While at the store ask her to get snacks she likes. I try again unsuccessfully to contact someone from the Thai church, but no one is answering. Then she asks me for money. I don’t give money to people as a general rule. After the convenience store stop I lead her a little further down the road to a restaurant I know.
The cook smiles warmly at us.
We sit down at an empty table.
I motion for her to order what she wants to eat.
She shakes her head and says, “Don’t want.”
Confusion settles upon me at this. I motion again she can order whatever she wants. I do not want this
woman to be hungry.
She says, “Don’t like.” She asks me for money.
The emotion I felt surprised me. I felt rejected. I wanted to bless her, but what I was offering is not what she wants.
I was firm when I told her again that I could not give her money.
Then she asked if I would pay for getting her to the mall and buy her food there?
“No,” I said with a smile, maybe she could see the surprise in my heart. “I can buy food here.” I repeat.
Rejection floats around in my heart. I prayed as I walked away from her. This interaction has left a bad taste in my mouth.
I tell God I feel “used.” Then I remind myself that IF she could be doing something differently? She would. I am also reminded of a time before I knew Jesus as my Savior, my Friend, my Center. Many times God presented his love to me and I rejected Him. Flat out rejected the God of the Universe because I thought I knew better! or Jesus didn’t look the way I wanted.
Despite rejection, a feeling I know God feels, He never stops loving and pursuing. The way God loves me and ALL His children (both those who KNOW Him and those do not know Him yet) inspires me to love more boldly. I want to encourage you as well: let offenses slide off your back and love others boldly. I’m not “there,” but each day God brings me a little bit closer to being more like Him.
A wise friend once shared with me the emotions we feel are really learning opportunities. We get to look to God and CHOOSE our responses. We do not have to be mere reactors to the things that happen in our life. We have a choice and the way we respond is up to us.
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