I was driving the long way into town today, when I passed a woman walking along the side of the road, in the middle of the country, headed to nowhere obvious.
I was driving east, she was walking west – in torrential rain. It was notable, especially due to the rain.
I paused long enough to wonder how long she would be walking, then continued, as my mind wandered to other things.
Three hours later, after my errands in town, I was returning to the cottage, driving west.
I was eager to connect with Father in this rare quiet time and I was keen to know what was on His heart. I felt Him impressing on me that this season, so full of loose ends, is a time for rest, replenishment and waiting, not making new plans.
Unusual for me, I have felt a general void of concrete plans for a few months, and I suspect this is Father intentionally leading me to trust in Him and wait in Him for the work that is coming.
I felt He was eager for me to know that He wants to make the plans now, and that all I have to do is be available.
I was reflecting on these things, when I passed the same woman that I had seen earlier walking on the side of the road (it was now three hours, and many, many kilometres later). I did a double take, as I could hardly believe anyone could walk that far.
Pick her up.
I could hardly believe it, how had she come this far in the rain?
Pick her up.
My mind was congested with thoughts, as I considered answering God’s prompt (you know, the usual pushback stuff, “Well, what if she’s a serial killer?”).
But then, since I realized Jesus was in the car with me, I pulled to the side of the road and called Ben. I wanted his agreement if I was to invite a, uh, potential killer into the car. His response was: “Ten Second Rule”. (If the Spirit prompts you to do something, do it right away, within ten seconds… otherwise, your mind tends to take over and reason away the opportunity.)
Since Ben gave me the ‘green light’, I turned the vehicle around and drove back the way I’d come, a kilometre or so. I couldn’t see her.
Relief. Maybe God just wanted to see if I was willing. I love those times.
I saw her – lying in the ditch, overwhelmed by the strain of her travel and just collapsed there like a heap of neglected laundry – randomly pillowed by long, rain-drenched grass.
Mentally engaging my super-hero heart (the part that’s brave and steps out of my comfort zone), I parked the car on the shoulder of the road and walked around to her.
“Do you need a ride?”
A plaintive, “Yes,” was all I got.
A moment later, we were in the car, making introductions, and heading to her destination which was mere minutes from where I was going.
She was weary, fairly sedate, and likely under the influence of some kind of drug or demon or mental stress. Much of her chatter seemed to be gibberish that I didn’t understand.
At one point I told her, that God had been watching her while she walked and He loved her very much. At which point, she pulled a little Gospel of John out of her pocket, that someone had given her. She said she didn’t know how to read it though. She had gone into a church that Sunday morning to ask for a ride, but was given this little book.
I told her that the whole book is about Jesus who loves her so much.
“I know,” she said.
“Do you know that He made you, too; that He knew this world needed you and that you are a very special to God?” I asked.
“I didn’t know that!” she nearly shrieked.
A small pause later, and she said, “I’ve known you my whole life, and I love you.”
I felt her childlike warmth towards me, and knew she was talking about Jesus. She smiled and I could tell she was staring at me; maybe sometimes Jesus looks like a tired Mommy in gardening clothes who hasn’t brushed her hair in… a while.
It was dawning on me that this taxi ride was a part of the work that God planned in advance for me to do. This is the joy-work of the Kingdom that I could not possibly have pre-planned. My heart was so full.
She asked to be dropped off at a pizza shop in her town.
“Are you hungry?” I asked her.
“Do you have money?” I probed.
This, I totally believed. She was more like a child, than her 33 years, and didn’t seem capable of pulling off manipulation.
I handed her some money for lunch at which point she said, “Oh sister, I will bring you back a feast. You need to eat. I just love you!”
I made it clear that I had to be on my way, but she filled my ears with blessings, and as I drove away, I thanked Father for allowing me to meet Jesus through the child-like trust of this wandering woman who didn’t know when her needs would be met, but persevered with absolute faith that she would get there.
Thank you, Jesus, for the woman on the way.