“Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another.” 2 John 1:6
Our obedience to God comes from our trust that He has only good plans for us. But, sometimes, He calls us out on a limb asking us to do the “unthinkable,” to step out of our comfort zones and even go beyond the restrains of common sense. What then?
I was driving to work one morning, the early morning shift at our local Christian radio station, so the sun wasn’t out yet, when I pulled up to an intersection and waited on the light. I was always a little leery at this point in my commute because the intersection was located right next to a graveyard, and even though I am well settled into my thirties, my childlike imagination does wonders with scenarios like that! Trying not to think about the ghosts hovering near my car, I focused all my attention on the light, until I heard a loud bump and knock on my window. My heart shot into my chest and I turned toward the sound, prepared for the worst. And, there she was.
Her eyes were as wide as any eyes I’d ever seen, or maybe they only seemed that way because it was the only white around her, she was shaking, and it didn’t take much to see that she was in some sort of pain. She was frantic and she was asking me to please roll down the window. I had two thoughts in that moment, “Hit the gas and go!” but the other thought gripped my heart, “She’s hurting, help her.”
Immediately I realized the Voice of the second thought. Shaking and unsure I reached to push the button for the window, as it started coming down, she started pushing it further, which only intensified my fear! She kept saying over and over, “You gotta let me in this car! You gotta help me!” The fear in her eyes had me looking around. Was there someone chasing her? Were they close? Was I about to die? She kept clawing at the door so I asked her, “Are you in trouble? Where do you need to go?” She grabbed her stomach and bowled over in pain, “The hospital, ma’am. I needa go to the hospital.” I was just processing this, and still looking around for impending danger, and checking her for blood (all in the course of about 30 seconds) when I heard His Voice rattle my heart again, “Let her in.
I went cold. I was still shaking. “You want me to what?” I asked, in my head, of course. “Let her in.” Shaking even worse than before, I unlocked the passenger door. She jumped in quickly, speaking just as fast, and unconsciously I slammed myself against my door to give me some space. Everything in the world, dissolved in that moment as I realized, this was beyond me. Stupidly (fear makes us cowardly), I looked at her and begged, “Please don’t hurt me, I’m gonna take you where you need to go. Please don’t hurt me. Jesus loves you and I’m here to help.”
Let me tell you, none of this was an easy call to obedience, but in my mind I thought, “The hospital is just up the road, just a couple of miles. This is gonna be ok.” So I went through the intersection headed toward the hospital. “Where you going?” she interrupted my thoughts. “The hospital.” Isn’t that what she said. “Oh no, ma’am, not that hospital, the charity hospital!” That was another moment I had to call on God. The charity hospital wasn’t down the street, the charity hospital was across town, about fifteen or twenty minutes from where we were!
I called my cohost and told him I would be late. Needless to say, he thought I was crazy for picking up a hitch-hiker, that was unsafe, that was “STUPID” but he said he would pray for us, and that I understood to mean, “and if I don’t hear from you soon, I’m calling the cops!” All the while across town, I am talking to God, calling on His protection, and asking Him, “Okay, Lord, we are here, what do you want me to say? We have time.” I forced my body language to change. I took a deep breath, but still shaking uncontrollably it came out jagged and unsure. I felt God speak again, “Listen to her story.” So, I said the only thing that came to my mind, “Are you from around here?”
That’s when her story unfolded. She was a Hurricane Katrina transplant. She didn’t look to be more than fifteen or sixteen, but she had the eyes of a woman that knew more than a child should. Her boyfriend had moved her here. She had gotten pregnant, and she wanted that baby, I heard it in the passion in her voice when she talked about it; but she lost it. I looked down at her still extended tummy, she was shaking, but I knew from the way she was talking and from her demeanor that was more from addiction than anything else. She pulled up her shirt and showed me a horrible scar that went the length of her belly, no doctor’s work, I was quite sure. “Dat’s where dey took him.” My heart ached. I didn’t know what to say. Then I reached for her hand, and held it. It was so tiny, and I have tiny hands so if I recognized it as small in my hand it was teeny tiny. She was tiny, all but her extended belly. Then I cried, and the words bubbled out of my heart, “Oh honey, God loves you. He sent me to you today. To listen to your story, and to tell you that He loves you. Jesus saved you. He wants you to be safe and healthy and strong. He loves you so much.” I don’t know what all I said besides that…it kind of floats in and out at times, remembering telling her that God was looking out for her, that He had a plan for her a better life for her. All the while still shaking, but saying what I knew God wanted to say to this girl.
Before I knew it, we were there. I reluctantly pulled up to the hospital doors, still unsure of what she needed there, probably a fix, but I wasn’t judging her. I didn’t want to let her out the car. But the Voice assured me that I had done what I could. I gave her some money for a snack and told her to take care, it felt like I was sending one of my daughters in to school, not saying goodbye to a total stranger. She thanked me for the money and I prayed for her, then I watched as she opened the door and placed her feet on the ground. That’s a desperate moment for a heart like mine. I wanted to tell her to stay, that I could find her a job, a place to live, some help, but I didn’t feel like that was my place. I was fighting back tears, when she turned to face me and smiled. She reached out her hand, “My name is Angelique.” I smiled and took that precious hand again, “It is a pleasure to meet you.” She smiled again and stepped out of the car and shut the door, I watched her walk to the nurse that was standing by the door and prayed for her as she found her way, her place, and her healing. My life forever altered.
That was two years ago, and the irony of her name has never left my heart. But, the lesson to me was this, sometimes God calls us to do the unthinkable, to defy the rules of common sense, and sometimes we see how that all turns out, the fruits or our obedience, the reason why we were asked at all. But, sometimes, like with Angelique we have to trust that our obedience is that single act of love, and God will handle the rest.