Sincerely, if you don’t ever see God, you are absolutely not looking. 

Now, I can’t say that miraculous things happen to me every day, but to me, the next experience was really incredible.  It was so clearly God showing up that I can’t imagine it being any clearer.  I am sure some naysayers will suggest this is just a coincidence, but it sure seems like the hand of God to me.  

So…..get this.  My most recent blog was on being the hands and feet of Jesus.  Now, I am under no crazy illusion that I am saving the world, one homeless person or even doing anything really exceptional with my experiment to feed homeless people for 10 days.  It’s not equivalent to a lifetime commitment to Christ’s teachings, it’s not really going to impact the homeless that much, and I am not sacrificing too terribly much to do this. 

However, it is me working to be obedient to God’s calling, and I know God will use it for His good.  He will teach me.  Maybe no one will come to Jesus because of this, but maybe I will get better at sharing his love and his message and then will consequently be able to bring other people to Christ later.  Whatever it is, I know this might not be the perfect experiment, but let me show you how God shows up.

I wrote that blog on Wednesday morning with the plan to post it Wednesday afternoon.  (Being a new writer, I have to look back over things to make sure I don’t say anything completely ridiculous.) 

So, after writing it, I got myself ready for work and the hot yoga class I was going to take at 9am that day.   Mark and I got the kids ready for school and off I went to drop them off at their respective locations.  Right before I left, I decided to go to the noon yoga class instead of the 9am which would mean that I would double back to our office after dropping the kids off.  (While that seems like a senseless piece of info, it is important, so keep reading.)

Now, I know a lot of you know where to find the homeless.  You serve them.   You are annoyed by them, or whatever.  But, let me just be clear.  That blog post did not get posted when it was originally written because I was waiting for a convenient time, a time when I knew I would have enough time to actually seek out the homeless….because I don’t see them a lot.  I don’t know where they are on a regular basis.  I live in the country, which is awesome.  But it can be kind of isolating.  I mean if you were homeless would you be out in the country hanging out, hoping someone would notice you?  No, you would be in the city.  Anyways, when I posted my entry, I was assuming that my 10 days of giving away lunch to a homeless stranger was going to be pretty difficult for me to get done.

Back to the drive to school.  So we are driving down the highway of life on the way to school as we do every day.  Now, let me tell you.  I am not super observant when I am driving.  I have two small children in the car.  If you have two small children, you will relate to this.  I would honestly recommend that if you know I am on the road you take another route, because driving with two small children in a car is a complete and total junk show.  I’m not sure how people with 4 children do it. 

On that ride, my 3 and a half year old son asked me no less than 100 times if the rubber bracelet he was playing with looked like a hot dog.  Seriously?

                Eli:  “MOMMY! Does this look like a hot dog?”          

                Mommy:  “yes Eli it does!”  What is he even talking about????

                Eli:  “Now does it look like a hot dog mommy?”

                Mommy:  finally looking back, “oh, yes, I do see, it does look like a hot dog.”

                Eli:  “oh mommy look at it now, do you think it looks like a hot dog?”

Mommy:  “Eli, mommy cannot look back all the time, it is important that I watch where I am going so we do not crash.  You don’t want to crash do you?”

                Eli:  “Ahhhh, Mommy, pleeeaaassssssssssse just look onnnnneee more time?”

                Mommy:  Without looking.  “oh yes, it does still look like a hot dog.”

                Eli:  “You didn’t look mommy.”

Mommy:  Looking this time but promising it will be the last AND noticing that Emme has her bottle upside down and it is dripping into her seat and all over her legs.  “Oh, now I see, that doesn’t look like a hot dog Eli.”

                Eli:  “Mommy, what about now?  Do you think it looks like a hot dog?”

Repeat 10 more times. 

We are usually on the road from 8-8:30, I’d recommend that if you want to be safe, you just stay home during that half hour. 

Anyways, we get to the intersection of our road and I-70, right by Midway Truck stop, and low and behold, right on the side of the road, walking down onto the entrance ramp is a little old man who is obviously homeless.  Seriously?  Like, I just wrote that blog 30 minutes ago.

Now, I know there are probably homeless people there all the time, but cut back to above example of children in the car, I don’t actually pay much attention to them.    I am busy trying to keep my sanity for the 45 minutes needed to safely drop both of them at school.  But, today, I noticed him.  And, I was not looking.  I had planned to drive aimless around downtown hoping to spot a homeless clan or something over the lunch hour.

There was only one small hiccup; I had to get the kids to school.  I would however, be driving right back by this spot on my way back to our office  SINCE I decided not to go to that 9am yoga class AND I just happened to have my lunch in the car. (OK, it was my husband’s lunch, but whatever.)

This was my guy!  I knew it!  I told myself that if he was still on my way back, he was obviously who I was supposed to start with.   And, deep down, I knew he would still be there. 

So, I take both kids to their little schools and drop them off.  As I drove back by, I couldn’t see my little guy and started to get frustrated.   Ugh, I was so sure this was God showing up and putting the homeless man close to me.  And, then….. I saw him.  He was there!   He was just further down the entrance ramp. 

Slam on breaks.  Pull over to the side of the road.  Park car, grab lunch and a nutrition bar, and start heading down to see my little guy.   Pause, go back to car.  Grab 10 dollars so he can also buy his next meal. 

So, there I am, walking down the shoulder of the entrance ramp dressed in my 40 year old, middle class, women with 2.5 kids, I-am-going-to-yoga-later-what’s-on-your-agenda type attire.  And, as I felt the gravel beneath my feet and the food in my hands, I felt for the first time what it feels like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I am expecting no miraculous intervention here.  I am not expecting to change his life, although that would be nice.  I am simply trying to be obedient by sharing God’s love and saving grace with someone else by providing them with something they perhaps need.  I know that this may not be the way I accomplish God’s work throughout the rest of my life.  But I also know, that if for only one time in my life, I now know what it feels like to be a part of God’s work:  Work that includes no gain for me, only for Him and perhaps for this little guy I am getting ready to meet.

Cool.  Really, really cool.

Ok…back to meeting my new friend Melvin. 

                Me:  “Hello sir, I can’t give you a ride to Kansas City today, but I wondered if you might be hungry.”

                Melvin:  Sitting on his suitcase and a black plastic bag filled with something.   He looks up at me, not skeptically as I would have but, he does survey what I have brought him.  “I will take that bar you have.”

Me:  “ok.  Are you sure you don’t want anything else?  I have a sandwich and this is some rice.” 

Melvin:  Obviously a bit leery of my cooking.  “Nah.  You know of any churches around here?  Sometimes they let me stay there and I really want a place to stay. I’ve been up all night.”

Me:  “Hmmm…..I don’t know.  So, I know of some churches close by but it is Wednesday morning at 9 am.  These are small churches and I am pretty sure there is not anyone at the churches.  I have no idea how he will get in or anything. 

We chat on and on for a bit.  Melvin begins to ramble about being a veteran and some things that happened in Vietnam and the politics of desert storm.  As he rambles I am beginning to wonder what I am supposed to do here.  I have brought him this delicious lunch, that he clearly does not want, but now he wants a place to stay.  Hmmm….this is getting a bit more complicated and I am tempted to walk away.  Like, where am I going to find for this homeless man to stay?   Is God asking me to put this guy up? 

This is a hard one.  And, I am not sure I did the right thing, but I did do something.  I gave him the $10 and he said, “oh now I have $21.  I was going to stay at that hotel, but it costs $35.”  Me:  “Melvin, if I can get you into that hotel, is that what you would really like?”  Melvin:  “yes mam, it is.” 

Well, I just happen to know the owner of that hotel, and I could make that happen.  My good friend Joe not only let him stay but also gave him a couple meals.   As I got ready to leave Melvin, I asked him if he knew Christ.  He said, “yes, yes I believe in Jesus and God and all that.”  And I told Him that it was because of Christ that I was there. 

Again, I know I did not change Melvin’s life.   I certainly didn’t do anything that really took a lot of sacrifice on my part.  But on my personal continuum of trying to be more like Christ, I took a step I would not have normally taken.  I took a step and, get this….God showed up.   Once I was paying attention, not only did I notice a homeless person, but I noticed God.   As I walked down the exit ramp of a highway to meet a person I would never have met otherwise, I felt the heat on my back, the rocks under my feet and the lunch in my hand.  I realized what it feels like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Love God.  Love People…and here’s the big one, Do stuff.  Do stuff for people. 

And, as I recognized God showing up, I wondered how many times I have missed him because I am too busy with myself and my goals.  Just like the homeless are easy for me to overlook, so are the signs of God.  We dismiss them away.  We may not even notice them.  But, now that I am focusing on God, now that I am praying, reading my Bible and doing stuff, I notice Him, and I notice him with unmistakable clarity.  And….it is cool, really cool. 

There is no particular challenge for today.  I just really wanted to share this…..May we all see God.  He is showing up whether we are choosing to notice Him or not.

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