The other day, I sat at a stoplight and felt a bit of melancholy with a pang of helplessness. A man standing at the corner, about 55-years-old wearing frayed dress pants, was bundled up with a bright red scarf that matched the color of his face (not uncommon, but to be expected in -10 degrees of this brutally cold and purely murderous Minnesota winter).
But him squinting against the harsh winds wasn’t what made me sad. Instead, it was that he was staring at the huge snowbank completely blocking the sidewalk he intended to get to. He had no other option than to walk along the busy street of County Road B. And if you live in these parts of town… you know how that’s a thumbs-down, worst-case scenario move. I winced at his attempt.
A girl, about my age driving a Toyota Camry, turned on her right blinker signaling her intention to turn onto County Road B… exactly where this man was voyaging. Her frustration obviously brewed when she saw him. Instead of just merging into the next lane (because, friends, there were 2), she kept pressing on the gas and then dramatically slamming on the breaks, causing her car to jerk back and forth, inching closer and closer to this man. Being in the comfort of her own, warm, blasting-with-heat car must not have given her any empathy for this red-faced, freezing man. She finally threw up her hands and squealed right past him – dangerously close, if you ask me.
Now, I don’t know why this man was walking on a day like this – if it was out of choice or out of necessity. But either way, I felt a need to defend him, abandon my car, race across the street, hold up my hand like Superman would, stop the girl’s car in mid-throttle and give the man the time and space needed until the next sidewalk opening.
But no, I don’t have superhuman powers, and logic forbid me from throwing myself into the face of oncoming traffic. So that’s where the helplessness came in. I couldn’t just sit there and look pitifully at the man… could I?
No. I couldn’t. I think, as Christians and people who need to love others like Jesus would, there’s something we need to utilize that we often forget about or even dismiss. Yep, prayer.
Prayer does things, moves mountains if you will. We never have to look at a situation with helplessness, feebleness and infirmity. Quite the contrary, we have the epitome of extreme helpfulness at hand. We have prayer, complete communication, free access to the Lord over all things.
So that Thursday on County Road B, that’s what I remembered and that’s what I did. I prayed to Jesus, who hears me and loves that man regardless if that man even knows Him, and simply asked Him to bless that man in the best of ways.
And then I smiled at that 55-year-old man. Because that’s kind too.
So comrades, join me in this realization. Let’s bless others, strangers and friends alike, with prayer. And who knows? Someone may just be praying for you as you look at the metaphorical snowbank keeping you in your own life.
“Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17
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