On a Saturday mid-afternoon as I was returning home from a dental appointment I noticed a strange man walking through my neighborhood. At first I thought little of the situation because the man appeared to be well dressed so there was nothing to sound off an alarm. As he passed by me with a piece of mail in his hands my first thought was that he might be casing our mailboxes to rob. I spoke to him as he passed by me. He muttered something but I could not quite understand him. Therefore I nodded and wished him well. He continued walking down my street as I watched to make sure he did not look into my neighbor’s mailboxes. Nothing happened so I went into my house.
Suddenly a bell sounded in my mind. I wondered why this man was in my neighborhood apparently lost. I wondered if he needed my assistance. I got in my car and caught up with him and asked if he needed help. In his broken English he pointed to a sketch on the piece of mail he was holding in his hand and indicated that he was trying to get to the address that was hand written on the mail. Someone had drawn a rough map of the location he was trying to reach so I told him to get in my car and I would take him there. The address was quite a few blocks away. When we arrived he was trying to tell me that he was some sort of builder and his partners has taken all his possessions. The address that I took him to was of a person that he had worked for before. We spoke for a few minutes in my car and then I left as he approached the front door to the house. I felt that I had taken the first step for this stranger. I also felt the need to pray for this man asking the Lord to take it from this point because something just did not feel right.
I wondered; did I do the right thing? Should I have called the police? Should I have waited on him to knock on the door before leaving him alone in that neighborhood? My mind just would not let go so I came back home and immediately started writing on this subject.
There are many times in life when we are uncertain about what might be the right thing to do. We wonder if we did enough in the situation. In this environment you never know if a stranger could be a crazy person and could cause you harm. What do you do? Well I took the first step and trusted by prayer that the Holy Spirit would take it from there. I have to trust that God heard my prayer and will do what is best according to His plan. Sure I could have done more but I put it in God’s hands and I trust His hands are more than capable.
In a reverse way this reminds me of the parable of the blind man that sat by the pool called Bethesda waiting on someone to help him get into the pool that supposedly had healing power once the water was stirred. He had been waiting there 38 years for someone to assist him in getting in the pool. The story is told in John 5: 6-9:
“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
This story is not as similar to my own but in this case I was the blind man sitting by the pool wondering what I should do. Should I fear him and go about my business? Should I just ignore another human being in need of my assistance? Not knowing what to do I just followed my gut instinct and took the first step praying that God would cover the rest.
One thing I do know for certain is that God was watching me to see what I would do. I claim to be a godly man so what would Christ do in such an incident. My main concern should have been; ‘how did God rate my response?’ Since I at least took the first step He probably would say, that is a good start but next time when I feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit trust your heart. If it is from God He will show you a way and if it is not He will teach you through the experience.
In order for us to build upon our personal relationships with the Lord we must be willing to take the first step and trust that God will help us with the next one. Who knows, that man could have been an angel sent from above to see if I am really a believer. I truly think that God works mysteriously in and through our lives like this all the time but the teacher will only appear when the pupil is ready to learn. Take the first step when you sense the prompting of the Holy Spirit and don’t worry about what might have been, could have been, or even should have been. Some times life requires a leap of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 - NKJV – “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.”
Even though we might be blinded by our doubts and fears, God gives us the assurance to at least take the first step. Praise God!