Excerpt From "Our Comfort Zone" - Compassion for a Saint
Writer Author Evangelist Alice J. White
Christian Book Excerpt
- Fiction No
One day I was sitting at a bus stop downtown. There were other people standing around but no one was sitting on the bench, which had space for about four. A man who supported himself on two crutches, and had the most terrible odor you could imagine, came over to the bench. He had sores all over his head, including his ears that were oozing a type of fluid I could not identify. The odor came from the sores. His clothing was rather dirty and in poor condition. Nevertheless, he had a nice personality and was very pleasant to talk to.
Riding city transportation, I’d become experience with body odor, so I would carry a small bottle of perfume in my purse. When the occasion called for it, I would apply perfume under my nostril without their knowledge. Sometimes I did this before entering the bus. If a person who needed someone to talk to had hygiene problems, I wouldn’t have to act funny or try to avoid them. It was another chance to witness or just listen.
When this particular man sat down beside me, we were very close. He began to tell me war stories. One time he and his friend were on the front line. An explosion hit and decapitated his friend and, after all those years, he was never able to forget that God spared him. He shared from his past and from his small pocket-sized Bible. That day I didn’t get a chance to use my perfume. I was so involved in his conversation, and in feeling sorry for him; my heart went out to him. I realized that our streets and shelters are full because of stories like his. Tragedy hits some people who are not strong enough to pull through. They wander around the rest of their days, lost, trying to forget the pain and heartache of the past. Not able to separate past from present, they can’t ask for help. They don’t know what to ask for or whom they can trust.
It bothered me that I was the only one sitting beside this person when there was room for others. Usually people fight to get a seat because they don’t know how long they will have to wait. The people standing around were not all that well dressed, and I have seen them, on occasion, sitting with less desirable individuals than this man.
When our bus finally arrived I got up and he scrambled to his feet. I gave him my farewell and let him know I really enjoyed our visit. I thought he was waiting for the bus too, but he looked at me with watery eyes and said, “I am not here to catch a bus.” Chills went over my body. It was not what he said but how he said it. I wondered if he was an angel of God, testing me to see if the “old man” in me had died and the “new man” in Christ was alive, sharing the gift of love and compassion for all. I passed the test if that is what it was, but I think it was for me, not God. I needed to see the new person in me. The Bible says, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrew 13:2).
I’ve never had that kind of experience again but have continued talking to any and everyone about God’s goodness and mercy. Riding the bus, there are people of different races, belief, and cultures. Everyone is a child of God. The word says: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) There is no prejudice in God’s world; we are His children and He looks at the heart of the person.
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