It was cold outside, but she knew it was colder in her heart. His haunting
eyes were so vivid in her mind. She had wanted to run and hide somewhere.
Where, she did not know. Just anywhere away from those eyes. Eyes filled
with hunger, eyes soft and gentle, eyes that desired...What was it he
really wanted? Lydia, out of a sense of duty, had given a loaf of bread
to the man. Then why did she feel so very cold inside? Cold and lifeless.
The young woman nervously brushed back a piece of honey colored hair that
had strayed from her long braid. It doesnt matter. It will go away.
These thoughts filled her head, but it didnt comfort her heart.
Lydias small mouth twitched slightly as she pondered. He was so
dirty. Really, why dont they just take care of themselves like everyone
else? She was finding it hard to justify her actions. The only one listening
to her excuses was herself. Lydia knew full well this feeling that would
not leave her alone. All too often she had felt this tug at her spirit
and all too often she knew what it meant. She was wrong. Oh, she might
have done a good, rightthing, but her heart was wrong. Plain
and simple. It was a convicting conscience.
Yes, the day was cold. It was nearing Thanksgiving and everyone was bustling
about doing last minute shopping for the holiday. This was a jolly time
of year, or at least it appeared to be a jolly time of year. If you looked
too deep, though, you would find that for many it was just a facade. Ungratefulness,
self-centeredness, and constant complaining were very prevalent. Still,
there were some who were truly thankful. And not just thankful at this
one time of the year, but thankful each and every day.
Lydia spotted her gray Volkswagen and jostled the noisy shopping cart,
trying to maneuver it around a corner. The wind howled loudly and whipped
about her jean clad legs. It even managed to poke its icy finger through
the small hole in the light wool coat she wore.
I couldnt even look at the man. He never said any thing. It was
just his eyes. They were joyful but....broken, kind but...very sad. By
now Lydia had made her way from the grocery store to her car. Her shaking
hands had recovered enough to locate her car keys and place them in the
door lock. With some effort she managed to turn the key. Continuing to
mull over that which had happened only a few brief moments ago, she began
loading the groceries in her vehicle. As she settled into the drivers
seat a still small voice began to speak. It was not an audible voice but
it spoke clearer than any voice, Lydia had ever heard.
Was it not I who went to the needy and downtrodden? Did I not welcome
the beggars and the diseased? Did I not come for them too?
Lydia had heard this voice many times, for it was the voice of One whom
she had come to know as a child and He had become her close Friend. After
she had asked Jesus into her heart she had been able to hear this still
quiet voice. Lydia let out a sigh as she remembered how sharp and true
the word of the Lord was. Conviction. It does the soul well. There was
no use arguing with the Lord.
So what should I have done? Lord, you know I am weak. You know how
often and how quick I am to judge. I want to see with Your eyes. How do
You see that man Lord? How should I see him? What was it about that
man that so touched my heart?
Lydia was still sitting in her little Volkswagen. People walked by looking
at her strangely as she sat staring at the drivers wheel. Gently
she rested her elbows upon the wheel, clasped her hands, and laid her
head upon them. Again the mans face came vividly into view. His
eyes, though hollow with hunger, were sparkling. His crooked smile brought
friendly wrinkles to his aged face. There was no bitterness there. None
evident at all. Was that what bothered Lydia so very much?
He had joy. Even as he sat there on that bench having to ask for donations
of food for his family. He had nothing, Lord, but he acted as though that
did not matter one bit to him.
The Lord replied to Lydias observations, That is because he
does indeed have everything. When you have my Son you are lacking for
nothing. This truth is one which he has come to learn. Thankfulness is
the beginning of joy. Do you have joy Lydia? Are you thankful?"
She was a little taken back by the turn of conversation. No longer was
the Lord talking about a man Lydia had never met. He was now talking to
her... about herself... a very uncomfortable situation for her.Well, uh...
yeah. I guess Im thankful. I really should be. I have everything
I need: a great family, wonderful children, I get to do so many
things I love.
The Lord interrupted Lydia, Ah, yes. You do have many things. I
have blessed you have I not? But what if you did not have those things? Would
you still be thankful? What if YOU were that man, sitting on that
bench? Would YOU have joy too
A tear trickled slowly down her rosy cheek, then another. She thought
of her family. She thought of the times during the week where she had
acted unthankful towards them and ungrateful for them. She thought of
her job and the numerous times she had complained about it...even just
today. These were things that the Lord had truly blessed her with. But
she acted so unthankful. And what if she did not have those things? Would
she be thankful all the same?
I have much to be grateful for. If I did not have those things
to be grateful for, Lord, I would still have so much to be thankful for.
I have You. And that should fill me with thankfulness and joy each and
every day. Oh, I know I am not there yet, but I want to be. Oh, how I
need to be thankful like that man was thankful!
Once again the sweet voice of the Lord filled Lydias heart with
comforting words, Then I will teach you. That man was thankful because
he had learned that His treasure was not here in this world but in My
Son. Things of this earth shall dim and fade away. They shall never remain.
But that which My Son Jesus has done for you shall never fade away. When
you gaze upon that Truth you shall befilled with a joy of thanksgiving
no matter what circumstances come your way. Have you not everything you
need in Me? This is the truth of Thanksgiving.