I was driving home with my young daughter. He was walking in the dirt along Los Alamos Road. Dirty, unkept, and slightly hunched over with a backpack on his back; obviously homeless. The war began.
We were on the Eastern stretch of this long road that runs across Murrieta. This windy section is a little bit of country in the midst of the city and it goes through the hills where there are several ranches: horses, steer, alpaca, goats, chickens and peacocks. It was a very hot, dry, summer day.
As soon as I passed this man the war I mentioned above began. Compassion had hit initially, and then the flaming arrows from the evil one came into play (Ephesians 6:16): “I should just keep driving on.” “It’s so hot and we’ve been out all day, I really want to get home.” “I’m sure he will be ok.” “What difference really would it make if I stopped or not?” were the thoughts on the tips of those arrows and they were on fire in my mind.
“Mom! I have two bottles of water! Can we give them to that man?” My daughter asked. I quickly remembered my shield of faith and extinguished those burning thoughts.
“Absolutely!” I answered. I put on the breastplate of righteousness which helps me to do the thing God has placed on my heart, the belt of truth that showed me who this man was – God’s child, and the boots of readiness, and I thanked God for my little girl who is full of compassion and so willing to love. I pulled off into the dirt on the side of the road, made a u-turn and back-tracked to the man. He was sitting under a tree. I parked close by.
My daughter jumped out of the car with the water bottles and I followed. He was an elderly man with a weathered face, white, messy hair and a long, white mustache and beard. He was wearing dirty jeans and a short-sleeved shirt and carried his possessions in his old backpack. His name was William.
He thanked my daughter for the water and began talking about how hot it was. I asked him where he was sleeping and he told me up in the hills so he wouldn’t bother anyone. He told me that the world was crazy and he felt safe up there at night.
A terrorist attack had recently happened and he shifted the conversation to it and then Islam for a bit, and then he told me that showing God’s love to others can change the world. I agreed with him wholeheartedly and at that he reached into his backpack and pulled out his Bible. There were little handwritten notes all throughout its pages. He asked me if I was a believer and I told him I was.
We sat down across from him and he spoke about the prophet Jeremiah and his attempts to persuade Jerusalem to turn from their false gods and evil ways. Then he went on to jars of clay and the treasure inside, how Jesus died for ALL mankind and how the Holy Spirit can change the most vile of men. He also shared his thoughts on the book of Revelation, which were far out there but hey, the Book of Revelation is pretty far out! He told my daughter that he predicted she would be a beautiful girl, but to do something more from the inside because her beauty will fade away.
Driving away I couldn’t help but be reminded of John the Baptist, wandering through the wilderness, dirty with unkept beard; homeless, and telling others about Jesus. Just like William.
And so, I was thankful for my compassionate little girl who helped me remember my armor. For without her, and definitely without it, I wouldn’t have been able to experience Jesus that day through William. Makes me wonder just how many incredible people, or angels, God has placed in my path that I may have missed out on the times I let those fiery arrows lodge and take their place.
Forget not to show love to strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. – Hebrews 13:2 ASV