I was in London heading for my favourite prayer spot.
I knew I could have stayed at home to converse with God, but somehow this 37 mile journey to the capital seemed worth every inch travelled.
I could be incognito here. I could sit in the sun and feel God’s breath with every warm breeze that brushed past my face.
Those of you familiar with this wonderful city may guess where I was…a serene place that in contradiction, is noisy enough to hide me. So busy with bustle that I can join others by sitting on the wall without the risk of anybody taking notice of me.
As folk sit reading papers and licking ice creams, I can cry without turning a single head. I’d done it before – stared down the grassy path while hot tears flowed underneath my sunshades and dropped onto my lap.
This day, I intended to do business with God. My heart felt sick, I was disappointed and completely weary of life.
Did God even care? With my faith at an all time low, I didn’t even know.
Just before I reached my spot, a young boy suddenly appeared in front of me.
“Excuse me,” he said, “I really need your help.”
Spectacles with thick lenses adorned the face of a young lad in his early teens. He struggled to give me eye contact and wrung his hands nervously as he desperately tried to display all the correct social skills he could remember.
I was mesmerised.
He proceeded to explain that he had been travelling by bus but missed his stop and now needed to get back home. It sounded as if the bus driver had not been much help and he had no money left to catch a fast tube train.
I asked him how much he needed and even though I had already fished my purse out of my bag, he quoted a tiny amount, like £2.45. I gave him double what he requested and as I put my purse away, he politely thanked me and dashed off.
I had visions of an anxious mother wondering what has happened to her precious boy with special needs and I decided that I would ask the young lad if he’d like me to travel with him, so that he’d feel more secure, and so that he got home safely.
But when I looked up, he’d vanished. I trotted in the direction of the underground station but he was nowhere to be seen. I went inside and checked the ticket machines & escalators.
It was like a light had been switched on in my brain and I burst into tears.
A voice in my spirit was telling me that I’d never find him because he wasn’t needed anymore – the purpose for this encounter had been fulfilled and I knew it.
I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking loudly:
1. This boy could have been lying to you. He could have been working for a gang, who were hiding further away. As you took out your purse, he could have ran off with it. Yet you didn’t care. You were so moved with compassion for him that you took the risk without giving it a second thought. How much more do I have compassion on all who seek my face?
2. It was his simple, honest sentence that struck you: “I really need your help.” You didn’t think twice about responding to this plea, yet you’re doubting my love? Come to me with the same sentence and see how much I want to have mercy on you.
3. You gladly gave him double what he asked for. Had he quoted a higher figure you wouldn’t haven even queried it, not because you’re a mug, but because you cared for his wellbeing. How much more am I willing to give my children more than they dare ask for? If you’d had more money, you’d have given him the lot, yet you question my grace.
4. You were prepared to go out your way to see that he got home safely. You don’t even know London that well and had no idea where he lived, yet you were prepared to risk getting lost yourself in order to help this boy find his way home. How much more am I with you guiding you and protecting you?
“Yes, if you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who love him?” (Matthew 7:11)
I found my spot, sat down and cried a river. But this time, not because I was feeling sorry for myself but because my father had taught me a big lesson using an innocent child who disappeared into thin air.