I left the gym this morning after being tortured by my trainer, and as I walked out the door I spotted a woman in the vestibule.
She was black, maybe middle 30s, and she had on a tattered coat and pajama pants. Then something else caught my eye. She was wearing flip flops.
It was 40 degrees this morning, and she was wearing flip flops. White flip flops with little flowers on them.
I said hello, and asked her how she was doing. She asked me what time it was, and I told her. For whatever reason, I asked her if she needed a ride somewhere. She told me she was waiting on the bank to open up, and I told her they wouldn't for another hour.
I opened the door to leave, and as I did a woman came in with a scarf and a plastic wrapped piece of food.
Without a word, she wrapped the lime green scarf—obviously new—around the woman's neck, and placed the food in her hand.
"There you go honey," the woman said.
The woman in the flip flops didn't say a word. She stared into the distance as the scarf was wound around her neck, and wordlessly accepted the food.
I'd like to step back from the situation for a moment and talk about a couple of things, because what the Good Samaritan said to me next kind of hit home.
As we were walking to our vehicles, I said, "Thank you so much for doing that. That's so awesome."
And she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, "There but for the grace of God go I, you know?"
I thanked her again, and turned towards my truck, tears piling up in my eyes, then tracing cold paths down my cheeks.
"There but for the grace of God go I."
We all make choices in life. And I know bad things happen to good people, and I don't have any explanation for it, but I still choose every day to believe in a God that allows those bad things to happen.
I'll never understand it.
I saw a post on Facebook the other night where a friend of mine said something to the effect of "Religion doesn't work, so until god figures that out, I choose love."
This morning, I saw both at work.
When the Good Samaritan saw the dying man on the side of the road, there was no religious obligation for him to stop. When he addressed the man's wounds, he was showing love. When he took him to the inn and asked the innkeeper to look after him, he was showing love.
The Good Samaritan this morning didn't tell the woman about Jesus. She didn't ask her if she was going to sell the scarf later, and she didn't try to get her to come to church. She simply acted. She showed love.
And I serve a God who can take it from there.