Yesterday my truck’s battery exploded while I was driving. It sounded like a gunshot. I kind of knew it was coming, actually.
You see, I own a 1978 Ford F-100 (see below) so I accepted when I bought it that I was getting myself into the possibility of a constant project. I knew I was having issues with something related to the battery and charging system. But unless you’re a truly experienced and expert mechanic (I am not) it’s really hard to pinpoint problems sometimes when they could exist in any number of places.
Thankfully for me, there was Marcus. Marcus was the young worker at the auto parts store who, by his telling, had been working on cars since he was 5. I believe him. I’m sparing you a bunch of details between when the battery exploded and I ended up at the auto parts store – but here’s the punchline: with Marcus’ help, we identified the culprit. A $20 part that was sending too many volts to the battery from the alternator, overheating it and ultimately leading to its explosion. I bought and replaced the part myself in about ten minutes and many months of unknown power issues has been joyfully resolved.
It’s so satisfying to track down a problem and definitively fix it. Wouldn’t it be great if politics and faith and our personal struggles were this easy?
But the moral of this story is actually not the predictable “track down your problem and fix it” line. No, while Marcus and I were fixing the truck in front of the store, a woman strolled into the parking lot asking people for a light for her cigarette. Across the parking lot, eyeing her, Marcus said, “that’s the neighborhood prostitute. When she comes around we walk the other way or ignore her.”
In a flash I saw Jesus and heard him asking me, “what will you do?” I wanted to say, “it’s ok Marcus, I’ll talk to her.” Or maybe the even more Jesus-y, “Marcus, I follow Jesus so I’m actually going to love her and talk to her.” But I didn’t say anything. I stood there, with Marcus, just working on my truck. When she finally got to us and asked for a light I politely told her I was sorry but I didn’t have one.
While I was busy dealing with my very real problems, did I miss someone who needed the love of Jesus? Was my preoccupation with my own stuff a barrier to loving the obvious person in front of me? What if I had been able to show that woman unconditional love for the first time in years – or ever?
How often have I been thinking of clever anecdotes for my daily devotional and missed the up-close, broken, dirty and hurting person?
How often have you?
Lord, have mercy on us and lead us to be more aware.
Grace and Peace,