The 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta to Tiger was a great one last Monday. The weather was beautiful, the sun shone through the open sunroof and the CD I compiled the day before was blasting through the speakers. Oh, and I was sipping my caramel McCafe in my right hand. I had been able to attend Mass that morning at Holy Spirit in Marietta in their beautiful new chapel which has a dazzling sanctuary, one of those Jewish booths with a golden transparent curtain and a red velvet one over that with the Lord in the tabernacle dwelling there. After swinging by the airport I was on my way to Duluth to get my watch fixed. While wandering through the mall I noticed how much stuff there is, how everything revolves around consumerism, and how my eyes were scanning the items automatically, looking for some item to possibly purchase if it had my liking. I then decided I really didn’t need anything, although the sale at American Eagle was too much to resist and I buckled for the discounted polo shirts. While cruising the highway again, I saw a homeless man walking in a parking lot out of my right eye. The first thing that flashed through my mind was: Jesus. So I pulled over but noticed a Christian store in the line of stores where I parked. While glancing over at the homeless man about 200 feet away, I went and entered the store. When I came out a while later, the homeless man was nowhere to be seen. I was disappointed in myself. The store wasn’t going to go anywhere, I should have approached the man first and offered him some food and prayed with him. Now he was gone, an opportunity to witness and love wasted. I realized I had become too comfortable on my little trip. Instead of seeking for the face of Christ, I had unconsciously been seeking the face of comfort and whatever I felt like doing. God continuously provides opportunities for us to grow closer to Him, to recognize Him in everyone and everything. But we have to choose, we decide ourselves whether or not we’re going to enter into those amazing chances or whether we’ll pass them without blinking.
We need clothing, it’s fine to buy things, it’s great to support Christian stores and purchase presents there instead of at a secular establishment. That, of course, is not the point, but if those places seem to trump a personal encounter with the living God, one needs to shuffle the priority cards again and pray for eyes to see and ears to hear.
I praise God for identifying the situation and granting me the understanding of the whole occurrence. The funny thing is that this would happen almost daily in my life before I was a missionary. I wasn’t doing anything wrong or evil in any way, but not really making an effort to do anything right or good either outside of the beaten track. I didn’t go into town to serve others, I went to satisfy my wants and my wishes. Although I registered everything in my head, I pray that the Lord will move me to act the next time. And there will be a next time, there will be numerous next times.
Lord, I want to yearn for You, I want to burn with passion. I pray for a deeper longing for holiness, a heavier burden for souls, and the desire to spend more time with You in personal prayer every day. I fail miserably by myself, but with You I actually have a great shot at attaining all this. Thank You for loving me unconditionally.
Please feel free to email me any prayer intentions you have. I’d be happy to lift them up to our Heavenly Father. Unceasing prayer works miracles. [email protected]