Monday, December 21, 2009

Jesus said, "Warm her hands!"

I was in Kroger on Friday. I am sad to say that it was my third Kroger trip of the week. I can't seem to stay organized these days. I had less than 15 items and since I despise the self-checkout I decided to go for the 15 items or less line. It was long, but how long can it really take if everyone only has 15 items. As I unloaded my plunder on to the conveyor belt I noticed the lady in front of me rubbing her hands together. The hands were wrinkled and her knuckles were swollen showing in every crease the long life she has lived. Looking at her hands I wondered how many babies she had loved, how many biscuits she has patted out and how many times those hands had brought comfort to someone special in her life. I noticed that even though her skin was a natural brown or chocolate color, her knuckles were red and she couldn't bend her fingers. She turned my way and I ask, "Are you cold?" "Oh honey, I am freezing. My hands stay cold. They are cold in August, but in December when it is 30 degrees I can't even feel them. They hurt so bad." I offered to buy her some gloves, but she had gloves in the car and that wasn't helping at the moment. I continued to unload my groceries, patiently waiting my turn. As I unloaded the chicken, bread and sour cream I noticed that my hands were really warm Actually HOT! Then I heard Him! The voice of my Savior..."Warm her hands." "I tried to buy her some gloves God, what else do you want me to do?" Again I heard, "Warm her hands." There was no out loud laughter, but in my mind I thought...surely Jesus would not ask me to hold the hands of a total stranger. "I don't have any purell and Jesus what will all these people think?" Again I heard..."Take her hands, hold her hands, warm her hands." I would like to say that I grabbed them right away, but still I wrestled with the question.."Why God, what purpose could you possibly accomplish through me holding a strangers hands." And Jesus said, "She's not a stranger to me." I turned to face my new friend and ask, "Are your hands feeling any better?" "No honey, they so cold." I held my hand out and said, "May I feel how cold they are?" As I took both of those wrinkled, ice cold hands in mine I kept hearing Jesus say..."She's not a stranger to me." Her eyes got big as she smiled and said, "Oh my your hands feel so warm. They are like an oven." I continued to hold her hands and rub them between mine. She thanked me over and over and paid her bill with stiff fingers, but now able to bend them enough to count out her payment. She said, "thank you again dear." And she was gone. I don't know her name, I don't know where she lives and for all practical purposes she would still be considered a stranger to me, but Jesus said, "She is not a stranger to me." I will be honest, I have still struggled with Why God? I mean I like to have reasons behind everything, but was this just a matter of obedience. Yes, I know my Jesus wanted to know if I was listening and would I obey even when I didn't understand. I know now that God was getting my focus off of me. He was broadening my view. I walk in Kroger all the time, check out and rarely give a thought to those in line with me unless they are taking too long to pay or they have way too many items and then I notice "that" with a little aggravation. Jesus said, "She's not a stranger to me." She is not a stranger to the one I walk and talk with everyday. She is not a stranger to the one I long to be with, to spend eternity with. She is not a stranger to the one who knows my inmost thoughts, my coming and my going. If she is not a stranger to Him, then she is not a stranger to me. How many others have I passed by labeling "stranger" when in actuality they are family. (God's family) My Kroger friend may have left there with warmer hands, but I left there with a transformed heart. No longer do I need purell after touching a stranger for that stranger is a friend of God's. I can embrace, I can seek, I can search out and I can obey as my Jesus allows me to be His hands of love and warmth to His people.

Matthew 25:40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

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