Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lookin' For Angels

When I was growing up, from time to time I would hear folks tell stories about angels. Or what they were convinced were angels.

There's a verse in the Bible that says something along the lines of, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

These stories usually are in the form of stopping to pick up a stranger, giving the stranger a ride, and when dropping the person off and driving away, there's no one in the rear view mirror. The stranger was gone. Like God was testing them or something.

I always kept that in my mind, and from time to time I have tried to help folks when I could. This has been tempered however by the dangers of stopping and picking up strangers, you know?

But years ago, when I was in college for the first time in Monroe, Louisiana, I was heading north on Forsythe Avenue one day. I saw ahead of me on a corner on my side of the road, an elderly black man with two paper sacks of groceries. It was brutally hot, humidity making you sweat just to look outside.

And I get this super strong feeling in my gut that I MUST stop and offer to help this man.

So, I turn on my blinker, turn just past him, and pull as close to him as I can in the parking lot beside him.

"Sir? Can I give you a ride somewhere?"

"Yes, and I sho 'preciate it."

He gets in the passenger side of the 75 Ford pickup I was driving back then, and ask him where he needs to go. He tells me a place about three miles away, where his grandson is, and that he was trying to walk there, but just ran out of energy in the heat.

This was when Ol' Blue, my pickup truck, still had a working air conditioner. I cranked that baby up on high, and the old guy just breathed a sigh of relief.

I got to where he wanted out, and he thanked me about 20 times for giving him a lift and sharing my air conditioner.

I must admit, that I looked back, almost hoping that he had disappeared, but he was there, walking toward the building where his grandson worked.

Then about a month later, I saw him again, just a bit farther up the road from where I had seen him and picked him up the first time. I pulled over right in front of where he was walking, got out and waved him to come get in the truck.

He just smiled and got in with his grocery bags again.

He wanted to go to the same place, but he had been determined to make it this time, but I had seen him, recognized him, and stopped for him again.

I dropped him off where his grandson worked, or so he said.

But this time I didn't look back; I didn't need to have an experience with an angel to know that I had done the right thing.


Hammer said...

I've never quite heard it explained that way but I get the same feeling in my gut about helping certain people.

It's a good instinct to have.

Sindi1968 said...

Yes, I was brought up the same way. I was taught the person you help may just be Jesus. Also back at home if your car was broken down some one was sure to help you, Well not here. When I moved here (to Florida)18 years ago from Monroe, I quickly learned "we are not in Kansas any more."
Several years back I was driving home alone and got as far a Mississippi and my car just stopped. I was almost to the panic point to start crying when to my rescue came several " corn feed country " boys to my rescue. All I need ways a battery on off I went. There are still Angels around us. When All else fails, I still live by the golden rule , DO unto others as you would have them do unto you. The rest is in God's hands.

Sindi1968 said...

forgive my spelling , it is hard to type, work and hold a cup of coffe at once.

JAM said...

Hammer, yeah, I guess it can be a bit different for everyone, but for me, it's a literal feeling in my stomach area. Something like an instant case of stage fright, coupled with something like someone speaking into my brain. "Stop. Help him."

Sindi, I wrote a post last year called, Florida Is Not The South. Lots of good people down here, but not a whole lot of that help you can get so easily in The South. If you know what I mean.

Janet said...

That is an awesome story, thank you for sharing it with us!

BTW, when I lived in Japan, my best friend there (an American married to a serviceman) was from Monroe! Her husband was, too, and both their families still live there. Small world, eh?

photowannabe said...

I have often felt that prompting to do something and i feel terrible when I'm not obedient. Great life story and lots of food for thought.

Lady G~ said...

Hmmm... sounds like you were the "angel" to someone else. God has a way of putting His people in places to minister to others.

Glad you shared your story. Would it be great if we all did what God prompts us to do?