Yesterday morning I was exercising in the den when the doorbell rang. I headed that way, but saw George coming from the opposite end of the house and let him get it. He opened the door and said hello to someone I couldn’t see. Then I heard a woman’s jittery voice. “I-I’m just looking for houses that need to be cleaned.”
“No thanks. We’re good,” George said. The woman didn’t try another tack or ask for a hand-out. She just turned to leave, so George shut the door and hurried back to the kitchen where he’d left food cooking on the stove.
I watched the front walkway from the den window. As soon as the woman came into view, I recognized her. I’d seen her downtown the day before wearing the same red halter top and tight jeans. She was middle-aged, weather-worn, and much too thin. My immediate impression as I’d driven past her had been drug addict looking for “work” (and I wasn’t thinking maid service).
After she walked away from my safe, comfortable, air-conditioned home, a strong sense of loss seized my heart and whispered to my mind, “You should have talked to her. Asked if she’s alright. You should have asked her name.”
Inclinations can come from a lot of different places, but this was one of those, “My sheep know My voice” moments. It was so strong, I moved to a different window that afforded a view of the whole street to see if she was still canvasing houses. If I spotted her, I fully intended to take my sweaty, half-exercised self outside and strike up a conversation. Offer her a glass of water. Ask her name. But all I saw was an empty street, radiating the heat of a merciless late-morning sun. She was gone.
Ever feel like you had a chance to touch a hurting person in a deep way, and you blew it? I stood at the window and prayed. I prayed for a woman I don’t know and may never see again. I thanked God that He knows everything about her and I asked Him to protect her. I also prayed that the next time she knocked on a door belonging to one of His “sheep,” that person would be quicker to hear His voice and a better steward of mercy. More than anything, I prayed that person would ask her name. I don’t know why that struck me as so important, but it did.
I’m not naive. I realize this woman may be a scam artist, a thief, or up to any number of other tricks. But it’s not for me to judge who or what she is. God sees her heart, knows why she’s roaming the streets in a red halter top and tight jeans, and is big enough and strong enough to take her hand and guide her to deliverance, wholeness, dignity, and peace.
God knows everything about her that I can’t know. And He knows something I could and should–something I will go out of my way to learn if I ever see her wandering around town again.