- Jane Wheeler
Sunday Drive or God Encounter?
Brian and I decided to take a Sunday drive for the first time probably since last summer, to no where in particular we were open to wherever the spirit led us.
Because we are living in a holiday trailer right now awaiting possession of our new house in June, I was feeling the need to visit garden nursery’s. In the greenhouses we got to smell summer, and take in the vast multitude of colors of flowers, leaves, fruits, vegetables.
On our way to our first nursery we passed by on the highway a young girl walking beside the road, not hitchhiking but a determined walk. It is 22 degrees out and sunny. We saw her again about an hour later and we can tell she is crying. We looked at each other, prayed and did an abrupt u-turn.
We pulled up on a side road, just in front of where she would be crossing and I got out and go to meet her.
“Where are you headed?” I asked her.
“Dawson,” was her reply but her face betrayed caution.
Dawson is still an hour and 15 minutes by car.
Incredulously I looked at her and said, “Dawson?”
I said, “Would you like a ride?” to which she nodded again and we got our destination for our drive figured out.
We started off down the highway and a very quiet, “Thank you for the ride,” came from the back seat.
Enter into our lives for a very short period of time, I will call her “Ashley.”
A bleached blonde, tear streaked, dusty native girl probably late teens or 20ish.
Enter into our world – a woman on the outside looking in.
We got to Beaverlodge and Brian went into the store to get a Gatorade and water as she was visibly warm. I turned to her and asked her why she was walking on the highway to Dawson.
She looked straight at me and said, “I don’t know how to get these off me.”
I looked at her hands that she was holding out and saw nothing, but gently asked, “Get what off hun?”
That snapped something in her and she said she had to go to the bathroom and got
out of the car. When she did not return after quite a while, I went in to investigate and we realized she had slipped out the back. So back to the highway we went, and there she was walking her way to Dawson.
I slipped down my window and said, “Would you like that ride to Dawson?”
She simply nodded, got in and again said, “thank you.”
Partway through the drive, Brian pulled out his phone and looked at it for a moment.
“If something is wrong, I will just walk,” came from the back seat. I realized that the phone had unnerved her. She was probably running from someone or something.
Now I would like to say that this is a happy ending story and all things turned out for good, but it is not.
I was able to talk to her a bit, not sure if she understood because of whatever drugs or mental condition she had about the fact that we had prayed about going for a drive and we were not sure where to go. But that we believed God has sent us to her to pick her up and offer protection for this trip to Dawson. I asked her if she had ever heard about God. At first she said no, but then she softly said, maybe her grandma had talked to her about it. I told her that God loved her and we would be happy to help her with whatever she needed in Dawson.
We arrived, she refused food, and refused to let us take her to her grandmas’ house and walked away.
The heartache and sadness that washed over me was almost overwhelming.
I had this girl in my car, I had resources, I had God but I could only watch her walk away and not help her. I was devastated. Brian and I prayed for her and will continue too but I realized it was her choice to stay on the outside of the circle. You cannot make people come in.
Oh, I talked to God a lot and about this situation and the helplessness and heartbreak I felt and what was astounding was I had never met her before and probably will not again.
God who created every person, and knows them intimately, told me that He feels the exact same way whenever His children walk away from His protection, His ways of doing things, set on doing things their way.
I started to think about what keeps people on the outside looking in.
Fear - do not know who to trust
Self esteem – no one would like me
Shame or Guilt – yours or some that other people have spoken over you
Sickness and pain – no one else can understand, and I hurt too much
Addictions – food, pornography, sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling
Judging /Prejudice – I’m not like “those” people
Pride – that is not about me or it is all about me
I cannot hear God - He does not speak to me - so I cannot go into the circle
Ashley, like many people was running, was it real of drug induced? It does not matter she was afraid of something and that something kept her running determined to find a way on her own, away from safety, away from people and a God who can help.
Next week I will talk about the #1 issue that keeps people standing on the outside looking in – can you guess what it is?