It was a typical South Florida summer day and the heat was just oppressive. It radiated up from the pavement and enveloped everyone in its grasp. A cold drink seemed the only relief until I could escape the tormenting humidity and flee to my air-conditioned office. “Just another thing to have to deal with,” I muttered to myself, overwhelmed by the pressures of life pulling at me from every side.
I was making a dash into the local convenience store when I saw him. He was sitting alone on the ground next to the bagged ice cooler obviously trying to cool down a bit. I thought to myself, “Buddy, take off that heavy jacket! That will help a bunch.” A nudge from God interrupted that thought. As I approached, God spoke softly to my heart, “ask him if he’d like a drink.”
“Wow, it sure is hot today, can I get you a drink?” I smiled at the stranger.
Used to being ignored, he paused for a moment, surprised by someone actually acknowledging his presence. “Sure, a Pepsi would be nice.”
“I’ll be right back.” I said and ducked inside the store. Returning a few moments later, I handed him his drink and took a few minutes to find out about this stranger God had brought across my path.
“What’s your name?” I asked. Little did I know that was the only invitation he needed to allow me a small glimpse into his life. He told me his name was Charles and told me a bit of how he came to be in his current situation. I gave him my total undivided attention.
Sadly, before long, my watch was telling me my lunch break was over. Explaining my situation to Charles he smiled to me and said, “That’s okay. Thanks for the drink. I knew there was something different about you; you really stood out.” Wow, God, I didn’t expect that!
On my way back to the office, I replayed the whole experience in my mind. I realized God put Charles in my path for me. I was so wrapped up in temporary things that pass that I forgot about what’s real and lasting and he used Charles to let me know. The enemy had so gotten a hold on my thinking with the cares of this world I had lost my way for awhile. At that thought, I breathed a prayer of gratitude.
Sadly, I can’t say I always stop for God’s “interruptions”. My experience with Charles taught me that they aren’t always someone else wanting something from me. Often, they are God wanting to give something to me. That thought alone always brings a smile to my face no matter what the day has been like. Our God is so lavish in His love for us!
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NIV)