By ANNIE WESCHE
As I drove down Main Street, the late hour and the quiet of our small town made it easy for me to ponder on the uncomfortable burden on my heart. God had opened my eyes to how self-focused my life had become. I lived alone, cooked whatever I was in the mood for, worked from home, and filled my evenings and weekends with personal projects and whatever else I wanted to do. Not only did it all make for some rather isolated and self-absorbed living, but I was getting comfortable with it. I liked my freedom, but this kind of freedom came with an increasing emptiness. Thankfully, God didn’t let it get very far before He opened my eyes to the selfishness that was leading my life. Earlier in the week I had heard a story that reminded me of the wondrous treasure that Christ comes and actually dwells within us. But how could Christ live through me, love through me, and speak through me if I was too busy looking to my own desires and needs rather than His heart and the needs of others?
I drove past the high school and saw dozens of cars in the parking lot and glittery homecoming signs that still shimmered through the darkness. I could hear the pumping bass of the music filling the gymnasium and thought of all the young people inside who were deceived by empty pleasures, and who didn’t know the great love of Christ. And I thought of how much He desired and loved each one of them — the very same love that had won my heart and rescued my life from death.
As I passed the high school, I broke the silence with an earnest cry, “God, forgive me for living so selfishly! Change me. You know every need that fills this town and every soul that has never known Your truth and love. God, I don’t know where to start, except to start with You … I want to see what You see.”
Marvelously, just as I said those words, I turned my head to see a girl walking down the sidewalk, barefoot. It was a dark stretch of road and there was nothing significant that would have caught my eye to make me look to see her. I knew God was giving an immediate answer to my cry and had turned my eyes to see what He was seeing in that very moment. I didn’t give myself time to think (by God’s good grace) and immediately pulled over and rolled down the passenger side window. Not wanting to scare her and not entirely sure what I was going to say or do, I whispered a quick prayer, “Lord, if I were this girl, I’d be pretty alarmed to have a car pull up alongside me on a dark street, so I’m counting on You to lead this.”
I leaned over to the window and said, “I don’t want to frighten you, but I was headed home and saw you walking … are you … do you need a ride somewhere?”
Apprehensively, she looked into the car, paused, and then nodded her head, “Okay, sure. I just live up the road.”
I keenly remember my lack of boldness and brilliance that night. Turned out she really did live “just up the road” and I had a grand total of four minutes with her, but even in the briefness of our exchange she opened up about the pain and loneliness that was in her life. She lived with her grandmother, both parents were in jail, a girl had stolen her boyfriend at the dance, and a friend had begged to borrow her shoes as she was leaving. Right before she got out of my car, though, I did manage to tell her that Jesus loved her, with the purest and most perfect love, and that she wasn’t alone. She smiled an uncertain smile, met my eyes, and offered another “thank you” before she turned and walked inside.
I’ve thought often of how I could have done more in that moment, like offering to take her to coffee if she ever wanted someone to talk to or asking her if she’d ever heard the Gospel. But what stands out more than anything about that night was the attentiveness and goodness of God to hear my prayer and immediately help me live an outward life. I had become so lost in my own daily routine that I had forgotten to live purposely and dependently, with faith, upon His life.
My friend, may you and I find joy and even excitement in the knowledge that Christ will always be the help we need to live the life He calls us to. The supply of whatever you and I need — patience, direction, faith, grace, courage, boldness, wisdom — is all found in endless supply in the person of Jesus Christ! And He has never failed to lead a willing heart that seeks to live for Him.