April came to church with us today. I've been telling her for weeks now that we were having a thanksgiving dinner after church today and that she should come with us. So today before we left I picked up my phone and asked Dan if I should call her (she has a pay per minute cell phone that she uses every now and then) and I decided to. She picked up having just gotten up. But she said she'd come with us if we'd come get her. So we did and she and another friend of hers came with us. I was so happy that she was actually coming with us. I am learning that a person who is hungry and poor will almost do anything for the promise of food.
So, after feeling like I sat through a service with two 3 yr.olds and having to get up and check on them several times and telling them to whisper and sit still, we finally had lunch. That's when I suddenly was hit by a plethora of emotions. It was strange because I was thankful that April was going to eat with us but then I saw the huge line that somehow came out of nowhere of homeless/poor people who were there just for a free meal. All of the sudden I think it hit me that the problems of these homeless wretched people who walk the streets near my home were so much bigger then I could solve with a bowl of pasta and one woman. I began to feel defeated and overwhelmed by how selfish these people were. I went to get a piece of dessert only to find that there wasn't hardly anything left and came back to my table and saw that April and her friend had stacked plates of desserts to take home with them and were talking about how they thought that they should steal a whole thing of cool whip because there was 4 containers. I got really irritated and even mad. I mean, seriously, there was no gratefulness there, just a desire for all they could get for themselves. I battled the rest of the afternoon there with loving them. They filled a garbage bag with donated day old bread and carried it everywhere they went in the room. We brought them home and I busted out in tears. Their lives are so hopeless. Their street is so wicked. Their sin is so ugly.
As usual my husband had such words of wisdom and truth. He brought in the gospel and applied it beautifully to the situation. God took us in as beggars who only thought of ourselves and placed his love upon us when we hated Him. How many times do I just except God's blessings and hoard things for myself with no regard to the hand who provided it to me or no deeper love towards the person of God and what He's done for my soul… only stuffing my "garbage bag" with the perishable things that will only satisfy for a short time.
I am praying for a more persevering love for April and the women on our street. I am also asking God to create in me a more grateful love for the price He paid for my redemption. I don't want to think of myself as deserving or be satisfied with day old bread when He has such riches and a home and an inheritance for me beyond my wildest dreams.
"Most of us are content to play in mud puddles because we have no idea what it means to holiday by the sea."
- C.S. Lewis