“Ooh, she looks cold,” I thought as I drove past the girl sitting on the bus bench at La Quinta Motel. “Yes,” I heard in my head, “Go back and give her your coat.” I kept driving. The words stuck. I drove on about four blocks, then turned around. “Okay, I’ll go back,” I might have sounded grouchy. Now what? “Give her your coat.”
What set up this situation I was in? The morning had gone as usual. Got ready for work. Went to the closet, put on my coat for the day. I chose my best coat. I liked it because it was a pretty color, sort of champagne, with flared back and furry stuff around the neck and down the front. Cost more than I generally paid for a coat so I didn’t wear it to work very often.
Off to work I go. I want to have everything done so I can take a long lunch hour to go practice with a singing group at eleven. I hurry. Put on my coat. Phone rings. I answer. Lost a bit of time, but out the door I went. Drove about six blocks then turned the corner at La Quinta. Saw the girl. Heard those words above.
Somewhere in the conversation, I say “This is my best coat.” (Like I’m telling God anything he doesn’t know.)
God didn’t jump in with an alternate plan. Once was plain enough. I pulled up behind the bench. Got out. Walked around in front of her; she wore a flannel shirt. Her defense against that cold!
I stand in front of her, stick my hands in my pockets, and say, “It’s cold, isn’t it?” “Yes,” she replied. “Waiting for the bus?” Again, “yes.” “Going home?” “Yes.”
Oh, good. I was going north anyway. We would pass a Thrift Store up about a mile. I wouldn’t mind twenty bucks out, drive her home, and save my coat.
I must have looked or pointed north. “No” she said, “I go south.” My plan didn’t get me out of God’s plan.
With my hands in my pockets, I flare the coat out, and say, “Would you wear this coat if you had it?” (Oh, my, this story gets embarrassing. How long will I dilly-dally. God is not going to change his instruction.) “Of course,” she said. “But it’s cold out here. What would you wear?” (I begin to get more pliable for God to work with.) “Oh, my car is warm, so I’ll be okay.” Finally I capitulate.
“Hold up, what’s this?” I recognized that I had a silver dollar in my pocket. Well, how am I going to save that without the girl or God thinking I’m a Scrooge. No, it’s not worth a dollar. I leave it there. Take off my coat. She puts it on. I run to the car.
I got in the car; it had warmed nicely by that time. I mumbled, “God, you set me up. You knew from the moment I opened that closet door, what you were going to do!” Tears clouded my eyes, as I drove myself on to the singing…. which had been cancelled.
In my blog https://onetahayes.com/2018/01/01/buck-up-get-with-it/ I said, “Take risks in Jesus; he is wonderfully exciting. I mostly miss the excitement when I don’t take any chances.”
It took me a long time to relate this story to anybody. It certainly doesn’t paint a pretty picture of me, but that is not the reason. The reason was that I was over-whelmed with a God that would set me up for such a delightful experience. A hundred dollar coat? Such things become as nothing compared to an encounter with my Savior. – And then to cap it off with my begrudging the silver dollar! Well, all’s well that ends well!
Oh, people, if you do not know God in the very personal way that he wants us to know him, seek his face. Psalm 27:8 “My heart says of you, “Seek my face. Your face, Lord, will I seek.”
(That was the end of that story, but I might be back for some lessons or conclusions I have drawn from it.)