It had been a strange kind of day. I had lunched earlier with a dear friend, who no longer lived close by, so I cherished our get togethers all the more. While at lunch, we were discussing how neither of us really wanted to serve "inside" the church anymore, but wanted to go "outside" its' walls to reach the lost and hurting with the love of Christ.
Later that evening, my husband and I were sitting in our living room eating dinner, while watching the evening news. We heard someone shouting outside and at first we ignored it, thinking it was just a neighborhood kid playing around. When the shouting got louder and more insistent, we went to the window to see what was going on. We saw a woman standing outside our gate, yelling and waving a flashlight. My husband went outside first and I followed behind.
The young woman was shouting hysterically that something had happened to her dog - that he was hurt and that no one was home and she needed help. We recognized her as someone we had seen in the neighborhood and working around town, so my husband went down the road with her to check on her dog, and I stayed behind and prayed.
At that time, we lived and operated a bed and breakfast off the beaten path on a long winding country road. We were grateful that The Lord had given us the resources to turn our modest home into our dream home, as well as to build a lovely bed and breakfast cottage on our property, surrounded by beautiful gardens, to offer as a place of rest and refreshment to others. There were other modest homes in the neighborhood and a sprinkling of mobile homes - some well maintained - some badly in need of repair.
When my husband returned home, the news was not good. The young woman lived in very poor conditions inside one of the mobile homes. She owned several dogs whom she dearly loved, and the one she came frantically looking for help for, had been hit by a car. She had recently lost her job and had just broken up with her boyfriend because he had been abusing her. And on that night one of her "babies" she had adopted from the humane society has been badly injured.
She apologized for "bothering" us and for crying about her dog. I hugged her and assured her that as a dog lover myself with a "baby" of my own, I completely understood. But, it seemed so inadequate.
My husband's calm compassionate demeanor, as he followed this distressed young woman home, examined her little dog, and helped her determine the best course of action to help her precious pet - all seemed so inadequate as well.
I wanted to take away her pain - all of it. The pain of possibly losing her precious "baby", the pain of poverty, the pain of suffering abuse at the hands of another. But I couldn't. My husband couldn't. We couldn't.
I wanted to pack up my extra clothes, my extra dishes, my extra sheets and blankets and bring them down to share with her. When my husband told me she had mentioned to him how beautiful she thought our bed and breakfast gardens were and how peaceful she felt when she walked by, I wanted to throw open our garden gate and tell her she could come sit in it anytime she wanted.
But I couldn’t go down the block, goods in hand and drop them off uninvited and unasked for. Still, I believe she came "shouting" at our house for a reason. Perhaps, it was just for that night’s need - comfort and help in her distress. Perhaps more. I honestly didn’t know the best way to help her, only that my heart wanted to.
Later, as I pondered the obvious question out loud to my husband: “Why?" "Why did she come to our house for help?" - she doesn't know us, we aren't the nearest house - he gave me the obvious answer. "Because she saw the light on." The other houses in the neighborhood were dark - ours was shining brightly.
Yes! I want to be the house with the light on. I want to be the life with the light of Christ shining brightly. I want to offer people in distress the same love and compassion that I as a child of God have been so blessed to receive from Him through Christ.
Perhaps, we did give the woman all she wanted and for that matter all she needed from us. Perhaps it was just a start and there would be more to give. At any rate, I will always be thankful for the opportunity that came "shouting" that night, and that our light was on.
Questions for Thought:
What opportunities are "shouting" at you?
How might God be calling you to respond?
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