You Are Not Alone

Sometimes, I can start to feel pretty alone and cynical. Not everyone is kind in this world. But what I keep forgetting is that there still are some kind people out there. The Lord has not forgotten us and He can send other people to help us.

I have some stories about times I was a moron and other people and the Lord did come through to help.

One time was when I was on my honeymoon with my ex husband. I had only been married a few days. Neither of us were very fond of the outdoors or insects. So, we were at a big park. I wanted to go into the buggy woods to see the lake and he didn’t. So, we agreed I’d go down the trail a few minutes, see the lake and come right back. Well, I forgot that I had NO sense of direction. I couldn’t find my way back even though it was only a few minutes away. After a half hour of wandering around in the woods, I found my way out. Except that I wasn’t anywhere near where I needed to be. I had no idea how to get from where I was to where he was waiting for me. So, I just kept walking. I walked around in the countryside for hours. Remember – I have no sense of direction. I can’t find my way when it’s a short trail let alone wandering around out in the middle of nowhere! I was praying, hoping God would help me get out of my mess. Eventually I found my way back to the main highway, which in itself was a miracle for me. Unfortunately, I still had no idea how to find my then husband but at least I knew how to get back to the hotel which was many miles away.

At one point, an ambulance came speeding down the highway in the direction I’d been and I thought, “Hmmm. I really hope they aren’t looking for me!” A few minutes later, an ambulance pulled up next to me on the highway and stopped. The driver asked, “Are you _______” And I said, “Yeah, I am” (By now, I’m feeling like a total moron.) The driver replied, “Well, we’ve been looking for you, get in.” So I got in and the ambulance took me to the police station. Then the cop drove me back to the park where my then husband was waiting.

Apparently, some nice people had come to the park about a half hour after I’d gotten lost. They had a cell phone and were able to call for help and comfort my ex who was worried sick. While I was alone and in trouble, those kind people, the local ambulance drivers and police departments were all looking for me. By some miracle – I managed to not trip and hurt myself on the rocky trail. I managed to not run into the wrong people and I managed to find my way to a spot where the search party could find me. I was rained on and tired after hours of walking but I was ok.

Oh no, I’m being a moron again…part #2
Another time, I decided that I could get home on the gas I had in my car. I was wrong. As I was nearing my exit, my car started slowing way down. Stepping on the gas pedal did nothing. I managed to just barely coast onto the exit ramp by driving on the shoulder while annoyed motorists sped by on my left. After I came to a complete stop on the shoulder of the exit, I flipped on my hazard lights, turned my car off and looked for my purse.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take my purse that day. It was at home – a few miles away. I had no cell phone, no credit cards. I did find twenty dollars in my car. Halleluiah! I figured I could walk to the nearest gas station, buy a can and walk back. Before I was able to even walk off the exit ramp, two people had rolled down their windows and asked if I needed a ride to the nearest gas station. It wasn’t that far away, so I walked.

But, it was nice to know that there were several people who were willing to help me out in my predicament. When I got back to my car with the gas can, a cop happened to be driving by. He pulled over behind me and put the gas in my car for me. (And speeders can thank me, because while he’s helping me, he’s not out writing tickets!) So, three people stopped to help me in a mess I basically got myself into.

The next morning, my car wouldn’t start on the little bit of gas that was in it. I prayed, “Lord, if you’ll get me to a gas station, I WILL fill it right up this time.” On my second attempt, the engine purred to action (oh, such a beautiful sound) and I drove right to the nearest gas station.

Oh brother… moment #3
I went to the grocery store with my debit card. Unfortunately, the pin for the card wasn’t working anymore. I didn’t have a backup plan. (I know, big mistake). The store didn’t accept credit cards, so they couldn’t run it through without the pin. My cash was at home. I asked them to hold onto my groceries while I went home and got some money.

As I was walking out into the parking lot, feeling pretty down for a number of reasons, I heard a woman behind me call out “Mam…” I turned around and she said she would like to pay for my groceries for me. Wow. I was amazed by such kindness. I wouldn’t let her because I’m stubborn. But, it really meant something to me to have someone be so kind and concerned about someone else. That was a gift to me that was greater than the money she could have given me.

If you’re feeling alone, take heart. It’s ok to reach out. There are many kind people out there, please don’t let those who aren’t discourage you. I hope these stories also help people to know they are not alone when they feel like morons or get themselves into a big mess. I know all about that! And remember – God can send US to be his angels to help others when they are in distress.

Receiving a Harvest of Blessings

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galations 6:9

Do you ever get discouraged trying to do the right thing? I was struck reading the first chapter of Luke the other day. Elizabeth and Zechariah were both very focused on living a good life. Verse 1:6 says they were “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all the commandments”

What amazes me is that they had been through a huge disappointment. They had been unable to have children for many years. In those days, being childless was seen as a huge shame, sort of a curse from God for bad living. I can imagine their heartache. Hoping and praying for a child month after month, year after year. Living the best life they can, serving God with all their heart. They certainly deserved to be blessed with a child. And yet, they grow very old and God still hasn’t answered their prayers. That’s enough to discourage anyone, maybe even enough to make us want to totally give up on God. Here’s the part that amazes me – neither one of them gives up on life or on God. They keep going, serving God and listening to His commandments day after day for many years.

Then one day, an angel comes to Zechariah and says

“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-15). 

God saw that they were really something when no one else did

John is born. Elizabeth and Zechariah are rewarded for many years of patiently serving God despite their hardships and shame. Honestly, I’m not as patient as they are. I get frustrated when things don’t make sense and it feels like God isn’t answering desperate prayers. In the end of this story, God made it clear that He did hear Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers. (Luke 1:13). He brought them great joy and gave them the honor of raising John the Baptist, the man who would lead many to God and prepare the way for the Messiah’s coming.  The people around them may have looked at them as disgraced and cursed by God for many years. They waited so long – not because they were cursed but because God saw them as extremely valuable. He waited to give them a miracle and to give them the responsibility of parenting a child who would be a prophet and one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Keep going when it feels like the good you do isn’t being rewarded yet. Keep going when it feels like your prayers bounce off the ceiling. Keep going when people mock you and when you’re ashamed. Those people don’t really know you. But God does. You’re great in His eyes and it may be that you’re waiting so long because God has something really incredible planned for you.