Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Even though it’s early in the summer as far as CSM goes, I think I’d already gotten into a bad habit…
You see, our daily schedule starts at 8 or so in the morning, and we’re finished once the group debriefs at the end of the night. Every week, the visiting group is offered a night off to explore the city or do something fun. While they are off, so are the city hosts! This past Tuesday was one of those nights for us.
I decided to go for a run around the city. (Yes, I hit the ‘Rocky steps’!) When I came back, the rest of the group was out to dinner, so I decided to stay in and get some things done. When my stomach reminded me it was time for dinner, I hopped in my car and went cruising around University City (Chestnut, Walnut and Market streets) to see what the food venue was like. I found a Chili’s Restaurant (my favorite ) and got my food to go. I also decided to attempt to stop by a Rite Aid to pick up a prescription I’m supposed to have before I leave for Mexico in a week. I parked my car on Market Street and started to walk to the Rite Aid.
Then it happened. I saw a man sitting in a wheelchair on the side of the road. He looked pretty content where he was, and I figured that he lived nearby. As I started walking by, he murmured something to me. Thinking I had parked the wrong way or something, I went over to him. His words were fairly garbled, but the Lord made sure I could understand what he was saying. He asked me if I could push him to the corner. I had no problems with this, and so I started to push him in the direction he was pointing. Perhaps he was tired, or maybe he didn’t know where he was. Regardless, I started to push his chair down the road. It was no easy task, and I felt like I was pushing the chair through mud. He told me that he lived on the corner of the street and that he just needed to get there. I kept pushing and tried to get him off of the road and onto the sidewalk.
All of a sudden, a man calls over to me from across the street. He says, ‘You’re helping him get back to his home?’ After he walks over he says, ‘Ah, his battery must have died! (to the man in the chair) Hey brother, I live right down the street from you. You know me. I’ll bring you back to your home.’ He looked over at me, shook my hand, and thanked me for giving it a shot. Then he asked the man where the brakes were on the wheelchair. (explaining the slow-go I was having…duh Tim!) After releasing them, they wheeled off in the right direction.
So, what’s the bad habit I’d acquired? I assumed that there is ‘time off’ from this experience. God could get my attention anytime during hosting hours, but once the groups are on their own, it would be just my time to relax and take a break from these revelations. God doesn’t take nights off, and neither should we. Upon further reflection, I had some interesting thoughts.
How often do our batteries run low? It may be a rough week at work or school. Some event in our life may be causing us to stress out often. Before we know it, we’re caught on the side of the road, unable to make it any further. The same could happen in our Christian lives. We may backslide, or simply have doubts which cause us to get off the path and delay our travel Home. Sometimes, the help of a passerby or a neighbor is exactly what we need to help us continue our journey. The electric wheelchair was run by a battery, but when that failed, the chair still rolled. (easily, too…if you released the brakes! ) God provides ways for us to get moving in the right direction.
When I arrived at the Rite Aid, it was closed. It’s no mistake, however, that I stopped where I did, when I did. Praise be to God for revealing Himself to me in the little things on my ‘night off’! I never got that man’s name, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. He’ll probably never know the way God used him to teach me that night. I didn’t get the prescription I needed, but God gave me a free dose of medicine for the soul. If and when your battery is low or dies, don’t be afraid to seek someone to push you in the right direction.
-Tim, CSM Philly City Host Summer 2008