Sometimes I think God has a funny sense of humor.
Today, the kids and I were in a neighboring city getting gas before my son's guitar lesson. After I'd finished filling the tank, a woman approached me, explained that her card was declined, and asked if there was anything I could do to help her. For some reason, it didn't occur to me at the time that I could go inside and pre-pay for a few gallons of gas for her--enough for her to get home. All I could think of was the $1 I had in cash. When I explained to her all I had was $1, she repeated her question. I reiterated that I really only had $1. For some reason, I just assumed she was asking for cash. It really didn't occur to me that she was asking for more. She walked away, and I got in the car. Now, our weekly tradition is to get beverages to take to the lesson. But I felt funny about going inside and getting drinks for everyone when I'd just told her I only had $1 in cash. So we went to another gas station. I have to admit that it still hadn't occurred to me that there was more I could do for her. Yes, I was that dense. As I was paying for our drinks, however, it finally hit me. And I felt horrible. We had to drive by the first gas station on the way to the church where our son has his lessons, and I noticed her car was still there. To be honest, I knew God was nudging me to help, but I was being stubborn at that point. My stubbornness lasted the rest of the way to the church. Once we realized we were there ahead of the teacher, I knew what I had to do. We turned around and drove back to the gas station. I got out and was walking over to her car when I saw a man filling her car for her. Someone else had done what I should've done to begin with.
The whole way back to the church, I apologized to God for being so dense. He gave me the perfect opportunity to help someone, and even some extra money with which to do it, but I just didn't get it. I wasn't prepared. So I told Him I'd be more prepared to help the next person He sent for me to help.
And boy, He didn't let me forget it. Here's where I think He has a sense of humor. In a recent blog post, I admitted to my tendency to be selfish with my belongings, or share them only grudgingly. Especially with our neighbors. Just whom did God send for me to help? The neighbors. Troy was out with a friend, and a dear friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in several months was hanging out with me at the house. We were just trying to decide which movie to watch when the neighbor's daughter came to the door. Her Mama wanted to know if I'd drive her to the nearby Fred's for a few items before they closed. With Troy gone, I wouldn't have been able to do it. But as my friend was visiting, I knew there would be someone with the kids while I was gone. And yet, my first reaction was to roll my eyes and grumble about taking 20 minutes away from my time with my friend.
Then, God gently (He's always gentle with me--even when I don't deserve it. I should take that lesson to heart with my own children. But that's another post for another day) reminded me of my promise from earlier in the day. To be ready to help the next person He led my way.
See? Sense of humor. I think it might take awhile before my first reaction is "sure, I can help". I'm a work in progress. And I'm thankful that God is patient.
With a wonderfully funny sense of humor.