Whoever made up that song that goes “The Wheels on the Bus go round and round” obviously never travelled in peak hour traffic. The trip home tonight took forever. The morning trips seem to move faster these days. Please notice, with your perfect all-hearing ears that I said “morning trips” and “seem”, not “bus” and “do”. Probably because of this funny little lady that’s been sitting next to me the last few days.
This morning I was thinking about how great it was to know Christians at work. I was so over-joyed a tear trickled down my cheek. Then, suddenly – out of nowhere came a voice,
“Excuse me, are you alright? You look upset. Do you need a tissue?”
So I thank her and take one.
Then she goes, “Is there something bothering you, anything you’d like to talk to me about? I know you don’t know me, but I will listen if you want to talk.”
I smile. She continues.
“Yesterday you said that even when some people know the story of Jesus, they don’t realise that they still need his forgiveness. What did you mean by that?”
“Okay then. You said everybody knows about Jesus, yes?”
“What is it that everybody knows about him? Because some know more than others…”
“That he came to save us from our sins. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“Okay.” I nodded, “but was everybody taught how?”
“Well you ask forgiveness for your sins.”
“As simple as that?” I ask.
“As simple as that.” she nods.
“Have you?” I asked her.
“Have I what?” she looked confused.
“Have you asked forgiveness?”
“Of course not. Only sinners need to do that.”
“Are you telling me that you don’t sin?”
“I’m pretty good. Are you telling me that God doesn’t forgive good people?”
“Different people say different things about good and bad people. The thing is that’s not what its really all about. It all revolves around Jesus…”
And at this point she hops up and mutters over her shoulder something like “This is my stop. Maybe I’ll catch you tomorrow.”
Funny lady. Think she’s lonely and wants someone to talk to more than anything. Be great if she did get to know you, come to think of it. She asks a new question every day. Help me to listen carefully.
Getting Gina to go to lunch was a flop.
“Not you too! Kelly’s been trying to get me to go there. That’s that funny little place where the buskers can play a song and get a meal for free.”
“Yeah – off peak times or John would go mad, of course.”
“Broke more like it, given the way some of ’em sound.”
“Fair go,” Scott interrupts, “they need a licence.
“Hmm. Or no fixed address from what I understand or the guy working his way through humming what he calls Handel’s “Messiah” would starve.
“I’m told the food’s great.” I say, trusting Scott.
“That may be,” says Gina, “but I’d rather go to the pub for lunch.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“Nope. I prefer the pub meals to any others around here and its alright in the beer garden.”
Father, she was asking me to agree to sit with her and eat in an area where everybody smokes. Thank you for helping me not to show my disgust. Thanks for the ability to put my own preferences and concerns aside and agree to go where she wanted to. I know I surprised Scott. I don’t usually put aside my preferences that easily.
When he raised his concern with me about how sitting amidst all that smoke might cause me trouble for the rest of the day because smoke does always knock me around. I reassured him that this was what I felt was right. It would mean having the conversation somewhere where Gina was comfortable. If it was for the sake of the gospel then her interests could come above my own and I felt that this meant trusting God with my health on Gina’s turf.
Thanks that Scott put up no more argument and that he and the others will be ready and praying.
Father, What am I going to do at the pub? I’m going to feel like I’m the pink elephant with the purple polka dots and orange stripes. How’s it going to affect me for the afternoon with all that smoke? I’d better go in early. I might be as useful as the elephant by the afternoon. Please protect me.