Thursday, 10 March 2016

One space left- a lesson in obedience

It was the only parking spot left. It was right near an iron post in a corner, I wasn't positioned to drive in seamlessly. I would have to reverse. On reversing, there he was. A young man in old clothes, with plastic bags by his side filled with what looked like clothes. He looked newly homeless, despondent. I looked around the parking lot, hoping to see a reverse light or any indication that another space was becoming available. No such luck! I hesitantly drove in, beside him.

The car on my left was still running, as I looked over, I read the driver's eyes - it said- are you seriously going to park there beside him?! I held my head down wondering how his eyes had read my mind. I glanced over at the young man, I whispered a prayer - for the car! I said to my God, 'Lord, please don't let this guy do any harm to this car.' After, I said a prayer for the human, I said - 'Oh and Lord, help him', or something to that effect. I got out the car sheepishly, I tried not to look at him, thinking I was being nice by not staring. The man in the car to the left, I saw his eyes read my mind..again...'are you seriously leaving your car beside him?'

I stood in the line, it was longer than I was comfortable with, I was getting a patty for my mummy. A few weeks before she had said, "I would eat a patty from a sore foot man!" That's a phrase only a Jamaican would probably understand, it simply means, she wanted a patty, very badly, even from someone that would seemingly be unclean! I was being the 'good' daughter, I was getting her her heart's desire.

As slowly as the line moved, my thoughts raced, thinking about the man by the car. I wanted to move the car badly. Then a thought came into my head that quietly whispered, "Get a patty for him too." My mind hesitated. Then I said okay. Another whisper, "Get him something to drink too." Hesitation, then I said okay. I knew who was whispering. I ordered. With patty, drinks and change in hand, I walked back to the car. The whisper said- "Give him the change too." I am on a very strict budget, I wanted my change, I shook my head in the negative, I argued, then I decided to obey. On my short walk back to the car, which felt like an eternity, I had a few conversations with myself.

It is funny how a patty, a drink and change can make you adjust your thinking. I no longer thought about damage to the car, now I thought about damage to my ego. How would I approach him? What would I say? What if he rejects me? What will the man on the left say to me with his eyes? Should I tell him that God said to give it to him? Should I say I'm a Christian and I just wanted to help? I shook my thoughts quiet, and just decided that I would say whatever came to my mind. I stepped to the side of the car.

The young man, the young man that had the plastic bags of clothes. The young man in the old clothes that I feared parking beside. That young man that I had prayed for after I had prayed for a car. That young man- was gone!

The young man and his bags were gone, and I stood in the parking lot holding the bag. I looked around, I hadn't been gone that long, I made a 360. He was nowhere in sight. He seemingly had disappeared. I sighed. The man to the left was still there, this time, his eyes didn't reveal my mind. I opened the car door and sat. Still. I felt defeated, un-redeemed. Then I said to God - "well what exactly was the point of that?" "Why exactly would you let me do all of that for this young man to just disappear?" I didn't get the point.

As I drove away, I still looked, I wanted to give him the food, I wanted to have him feel like someone cared, I wanted to 'save' him by this one gesture but most of all, I wanted to redeem myself! I didn't want to be the girl who drove in a parking lot and parked beside a homeless person and prayed about my car- first! I didn't want to be the Christian girl who prayed for people in need when it was in my capacity to help them. I didn't want to be that Christian girl who didn't show kindness to strangers. I wanted to not feel shallow.

I didn't see him. I drove home. Mummy got two patties and a drink that day.

I related the story to a blogger friend, she remarked that it was a great story. I couldn't see it. She said, that is a remarkable story on obedience. She then asked, if that were to happen to you again- would you react differently? Would you hesitate as much? Or would you just be obedient immediately?

I believe, in all sincerity that I would be more compassionate; my thoughts would not mirror the man on the left, and I probably would have less hesitation to help a fellow human being. I didn't see the lesson at the time, but I thank God for the experience. Now- I look around for people just like him.

I want to be a Christian girl who gives as lead by the spirit.
I want to be a Christian girl who values people's souls
I want to be a Christian girl who sees people like Jesus sees them
I want to be a Christian girl who prays for people and not things
I want to be a Christian girl who doesn't care what the world thinks about her actions
I want to be a Christian girl who does what she is lead to do, even if she doesn't want to do it.
I want to be a Christian girl.

And God, He is wise. If I had gotten to deliver that bag, I might have thought of myself as 'good', I might have done like the many persons on social media, who post pictures and write long posts how they were lead to buy food for homeless people. I might have blown my own trumpet. I thought about those people as I walked over to the car with the bag. I said to myself, I won't take a picture though. We have to be careful in doing the right things, that we have the right motives. Less we think of ourselves as 'good.'

There was only one space left in the parking lot, I got it, right beside a homeless young man, I didn't want to park there. There was only one space left, Jesus, got it, in the midst of two thieves. He asked that the cup be passed from him, yet he said, thy will be done!

So I say, whatever the lesson, whatever the reason for my experience that day, thy will be done.


  1. As your story unfolded, I began to think about how many times in a single day I want to shrink back from obedience in an effort to self-preserve. But, He keeps pursuing my heart as He was pursuing yours that day. Thank you Tanya for the reminder that sometimes it's simply about a "heart check" and not so much about the physical act of kindness.

  2. Tee,
    Welcome to Thought-Provoking Thursday! Your story is such a powerful lesson in obedience. You will never regret heeding His leading. No regrets! -- i want to be quick to obey like that. Lord, help me!

    1. Thanks Lyli, I didn't even think I was being quick, I just felt bad about my initial reaction, but it spawn growth I suppose. Thank you too for stopping by my little spot, and I hope to see you next week Thursday.

  3. And that is the lesson I didn't understand Kim, the heart check, but you are so right. You are most welcome

  4. What a beautiful testimony of obedience and honesty. Thank you for openly sharing how God is working in your life. It's so encouraging to hear!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, I try to be as honest as I can when I write and I am glad you were encouraged

  5. Tanya, wow wow wow! I feel like you have been eavesdropping on some of my conversations with God! This was so powerful! I love how God teaches us so MANY things from just one incident and how He shifts our perspective. I am often turned off when people go on and on about the great deeds they have done for others but then God has had to shine the spotlight on my heart a couple of times. He shows me how I am guilty of the VERY SAME THING! Sure I didnt take the picture to prove it but my motives were the same (to be the hero of the story, to be seen as the good christian girl! I want to learn to immediately obey and then focus on given all glory to God! THank you for your transparency, it blessed me this morning!

    1. Anika, thank you for your encouraging words as we sojourn together. And no, I haven't been eavesdropping.. Haha, but as our hearts are cleansed we all go through the same processes in different ways and events. I am glad you were blessed, as your writings bless me too.

    2. Anika, thank you for your encouraging words as we sojourn together. And no, I haven't been eavesdropping.. Haha, but as our hearts are cleansed we all go through the same processes in different ways and events. I am glad you were blessed, as your writings bless me too.

  6. I have a heart for the homeless and the hurting, and your story warmed my heart! You were obedient, and that's what matters. Cool story. Thanks for sharing it. It's a blessing to follow you at Suzie's this week!