Yesterday I saw a girl crying in her car in the church parking lot. It wasn’t like the kind of cry I do when it’s been a stressful day and I’m exhausted and I get home and we’re out of coffee and it’s probably getting close to that time of the month. It was like a something-is-definitely-really-wrong kind of cry. I pulled into the spot right next to her and didn’t even notice until I got out of my car.
But do you want to know what I did after I looked over and saw her leaning up against the window with her head in her hands? I walked away. I stood there for a split second and thought oh no what do I do has she noticed me should I stay should I go for goodness’ sake we’re at church I should do something… but I didn’t. I justified it by telling myself that there were a bunch of first graders inside waiting for their Sunday school teacher. I was going to be late! I had to go.
So I went. But all morning I thought about this girl and what could’ve happened if I would’ve walked over and knocked on her window. What if her mom or dad had just died? What if she’s in high school and she just found out she’s pregnant? Or what if she just found out she has cancer? I wouldn’t know how to respond to any of those things! I would probably just cry too.
All morning I tried to convince myself that it was the better decision to walk away and leave it be. Someone else would have something better to say to her than anything I could’ve thought of on the spot. Would she even want some random stranger to walk up to her and ask if she’s okay when clearly she’s not okay?
Well, what if she just wanted to be left alone? She probably would have ignored me and then I could’ve walked away knowing I had tried.
But what if she needed something? A hug, a prayer, a friend…what if she came to church to find Jesus and ended up crying in the parking lot alone? What if she drove away before anyone else had the chance to do something? Or what if someone else saw her but chose to act like they hadn’t like I did?
Of course, as I’m driving home, these words came over the radio [the Praise Jesus playlist strikes again.]
And I realized that I didn’t try to talk to that girl because I was scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t have the right words for whatever her situation was. Or that she wouldn’t even want to talk to me at all and I would look dumb. Or that I would try and fail to comfort her. There were so many things that could have gone wrong.
But what if she just needed to know that someone cared about her? In a moment like that I don’t think she would have been looking for someone to come along and recite the perfect Bible verse. I think she just needed to be loved.
My love isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. Because my love serves to open the door to God’s love, and His love never fails. Even if I wouldn’t have said exactly what she needed to hear, if I would’ve had the courage to step out of my comfort zone and meet her where she was at, I could’ve opened the door for Jesus to do what only He can do.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.”
1 John 4:18
I don’t think He expects me to be prepared with the perfect sentiment every time I get out of my car in case someone parked next to me is crying. But I do think He wants me to trust Him enough to love without fear and let Him fill in the gaps of my shortcomings.
There is no pressure put on us to be perfect, therefore there’s no reason to fear falling short. It’s not our job to redeem. We are just here to point to the Redeemer.