One month after her surgery Anne entered into the familiar storefront meeting room. All her old friends were there, but they treated her differently.
She looked pale and weak, not the funny, fearless person they knew pre-surgery. They smiled politely and got involved in other conversations, leaving Anne out. What was going on?
The Holy Spirit told me they were afraid. They had been used to a person who had answers, wisdom, and strength. Here was the same person, but her outward appearance was so different. They didn’t know how to handle it, so they didn’t talk to her. They avoided her for several months after her surgery.
At first, I was mad at them for being so callous and disrespectful, but then I realized THEY were the ones to be pitied. They were missing out on a great experience. What they could have gained in wisdom, understanding, and guidance, they had given up because of their fears.
They couldn’t seem to see past Anne’s exterior appearance and perceived weakness.
People get sick and have things happen to them that change them. That’s just a fact of life. But as Christians, we need to be able to still give people the respect and love they need.
The other day I was driving home from work, and Jane was in the passenger seat. We were approaching a corner where we’ve seen a skinny raggedy-looking homeless man many times waving and smiling at everyone. The Lord told Jane to give the guy $2.00. He was so excited and talked super-fast as he told us he had been off of drugs and alcohol 15 days now and he could drive, and he could work. Jane and I both told him, “good job!” He “God blessed” us several times as we said the same back to him. When we drove off, we both realized the guy was not nearly as excited about the money as he was about having someone to tell his story to and them telling him he was doing a good job. People want to be respected and appreciated.
Our God looks at the heart of a man or woman. When God sent Samuel to find a king to replace Saul, even the great prophet was only looking at the exterior: “And it came to pass, when they were come, that he [Samuel] looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:6-7).
God doesn’t look at race or nationality, male or female, background, culture, sickness, weakness or health. God looks straight through to the heart, and we need to practice this too. We all go through down times, weak times. We don’t want to abandon people when they’re going through something. We need to have a little patience, respect, and more love. Isn’t that what we’d want?
More great true story vignettes – opportunities to see the Word of God at work in a person’s everyday life. 😊