Sometimes we wonder why we have to do something we don't want to do. And then, we find out...
Like the Saturday night I decided to get a haircut. Saturdays are typically ‘date night’ for my husband and me, so it broke routine. But something kept nagging me to get a haircut that day. Finally, late afternoon, I dialed the salon.
“They’re probably closed,” I thought. But the receptionist said they could take me if I came right away….
Simultaneously, a hefty woman, with unkempt, dark curly hair, stepped outside her tenement, looked to the heavens and heaved a great sigh. She began shifting one foot in front of the other, laboring her way past sub-shops, clothing stores and restaurants. Cars, trucks and buses dashed by, oblivious to the lone, lumbering figure. When she finally stopped to rest at a roadside bench, shoppers zipped by without a smile or kind word.
Odd, what she needed the most surrounded her, but she had no way to get it. She was hungry, but she had no food. There was a grocery, but she had no money. She’d walked a long way from home, but she didn’t have the strength to return.
Finally, dejected and weary, she sat on a bench outside the salon, placed her head in her hands and surrendered to the tears. “Please Jesus,” she prayed, “Please send someone to help me.”
I pulled my van alongside the curb, threw the gearshift in park, exited, and raced inside the salon. In passing, I spotted the woman sitting on the bench, but I dismissed her.
My stylist scrubbed my hair and clipped the strands, rattling incessantly about a recent movie she saw. When I finally left, the first brushes of nighttime blanketed the street.
I fetched my keys and stepped off the curb when someone approached. It was the hefty woman with shabby, dark curly hair.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” she said, stepping into the light. “Can you help me?”
I bristled, but something told me not to fear.
“What do you need?” I asked.
“I don’t have any food,” she said. As she explained her plight, I knew I could help.
“Hop in the car,” I said. “We can go to the grocery store across the street.”
She climbed into my van.
“I knew God would send someone to help me,” she said. “And when I saw you walking into the hair-cutting place, I knew you were my angel.”
We started talking. She told me she became a Christian as a teen, and that God always met her needs in desperate situations, like this one. She admitted she didn’t really know where she was going when she started walking that evening and I confessed the salon wasn’t my normal Saturday night stop.
As our stories unraveled, I sensed her faith and it seemed a privilege to help her.
Although I’ll probably never see her again, I’ll never forget our encounter, her devotion, and the wonder of a God who brought us together.
Continue to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without even knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)