Rush hour traffic at Main and Terminal.
Not a great mix on a hot summer’s day.
The light turned red. And that’s when I saw her, limping between the rows of idling Hondas, Dodge Caravans and BMVs. Despite the heat she wore a jean jacket and long t-shirt.
“Oh, great,” I said to my son as I reached for the electric button that controlled the driver’s window, “I don’t have any change.”
To be honest, I was a little scared. Sometimes if you didn’t have money panhandlers got mad. Cursed. Hit the car with the flat of their hands. I hated scenes.
“Do you have any change?”
The woman suddenly stood at my window. I had no time to roll it up before she leaned inside.
“Sorry,” I said shakily, “Just have a few pennies and a nickel.”
She smiled, revealing two lonely teeth.
“Don’t worry”, she said, “I have something for you.”
The woman pulled a muddy McDonald’s toy out of her jean coat pocket.
“Found it in the gutter,” she said, “Been saving it to give to someone. Do you have a little girl?”
I did. My little girl was a home with my mother that very moment.
She handed me the toy just as the light turned green. Then, she walked away.
“God bless you,” I called out.
Cars honked. I stepped on the accelerator and drove through the intersection.
“This is messed up,” I sputtered as I headed to the suburbs. It had to be. All my life, I had hoped that God would somehow acknowledge me, speak to me in a powerful way. I braced for the thunder of his presence, for the whirlwind of His glory to transform my world.
This woman’s kindness came come out of nowhere. Her generosity unnerved me. It totally trashed my carefully drawn theological roadmap.
Surprise, surprise, surprise!
God doesn’t wait for big name conferences to speak to us. He does not limit his presence to special services on Sunday mornings. I heard His voice on a busy street. I saw his love shining out through the eyes of a woman asking for change.