But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him…..
I was in a hurry. A quick walk with the dogs to check off my “To Do” list then on to the next activity. As I walked hurriedly home, I also prayed. I often pray when I am out walking my dogs. It is my habit. As a busy Mom, when my kids were young, I got in the habit of multi-tasking. Praying and driving, praying and cleaning, praying and walking the dogs. It’s what I do. I pray in the Holy Spirit, while I go about my daily business. I guess this is my interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which instructs believers to “pray without ceasing.” That particular day, as I prayer-walked with my dogs, I noticed a car pulled over on the side of the road. I kept on walking, deep in thought. I didn’t give it a second glance.
Suddenly, I got an impression in my spirit, ‘He needs help,’ a still-small voice seemed to whisper. The impression wouldn’t leave me alone. I was busy and ignored that impression and kept walking. Only a few blocks from home, I was nearly at my goal. But I just couldn’t shake the growing sense that I should stop. I began to evaluate the unusual thought. I surmised that:
1. it was inconvenient for me to stop and ask a stranger if he needed help
2. I had no desire to stop and
3. I wouldn’t normally stop to talk to a stranger, particularly a male, in a car by the side of the road.
Since all of the above were true, I began to sense it may be a prompting from the Holy Spirit. You see, usually, the ‘inconvenient’ things tend to be God-leadings in my experience. Besides that, I suddenly remembered the parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10. It just ‘happened’ to pop into my head at that moment. ‘Uh-oh‘, I thought. In that story, Jesus discussed a situation where a man had been beaten and robbed and left by the side of the road. Two religious men walked by on the other side of the road, too busy to help a stranger in need. They ignored him. But, a man from a despised ethnic minority (called the Samaritans) stopped to see if the man needed help. He assisted the crime victim by bandaging his wounds, paying for lodging and helping him in other practical ways. That did it! ‘Okay God, here goes,’ I prayed silently. I had passed his car, but turned around and went back.
I knocked on his car window, and noticed he was reading a map. I politely said, “sir, I live in this neighborhood, do you need any help?” “Why yes, I do,” he said, “I am lost.” It was then that I noticed he was elderly and had out-of-state license plates on his car. My heart melted, as he said, “I’m looking for Fourth Baptist Church, do you know where that is?.” (Oh God, I’m so sorry for my selfishness! I repented in my heart silently). “Why yes, I do!” I just happened to be familiar with the large church about five miles from my home that I had visited once, years before. I explained where it was. I then said, “Sir, I”m a Christian, and was out praying and walking when I noticed you here. I got a repeated impression to stop and see if you needed help. The impression was so strong, I turned around and came back to see if you really needed help.!” He grinned ear to ear. His name was Vern. He was on his way to a church meeting and was unfamiliar with our area. Being from rural Illinois, he was not accustomed to the suburbs of the large city in Minnesota where I live. The relief on his face when I shared the simple directions, was obvious. We had a pleasant conversation before he went on his way.
We both knew that ours was not a meeting by ‘chance’ but by a divine appointment from God. Vern needed directions, and I had them. I’m glad I took that chance to obey that inner prompting, rather than continue on my way. My dogs and I continued on home, and I was grinning and thanking God for His goodness. It made my day to be an answer to Vern’s prayer and meet his simple need! And I’m sure it made Vern’s too!
Every day can be an adventure with God. You and I can walk with Jesus on the road of our everyday lives. Start praying and ‘listening’ for His still small voice and see what happen’s next.
Janet DeCaster is the author of Dog Tales & Pup Parables: 31 Devotions for a Dog Lover’s Heart, BroadStreet Publishing, 2016
God Speaks: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts & Today