I decide at the last second to turn onto the street to the post office. I need to mail a package even though my white jeans are mud-caked from my daughter's sandals, and I look a wreck. (Friends over vanity: it's good for me.) I pull under the shade of a tall tree and glance across the street.
My eyes rest on a startling sight: a frail, white-haired woman is sprawled on the asphalt beside the sidewalk. Her gray-headed husband is unsteadily making his way toward her to help. I hurriedly give instructions to my son as I rush across the road to help. The man's bent-over form is tenderly giving her the strength she needs to stand.
I pick up her sunglasses that had fallen off of her sweet face. A lens is missing, which she is holding in her hand. I assess the other damage: the scraped knees, the gash on her papery-skinned hand, the abrasion on her forehead. She sits in the seat of her car while I retrieve wipes and the first aid kid. I am a mother.
Thoughts flood my mind. Thoughts of aging and frailty.
And then. . . . Christ thoughts. The picture of the Groom and His bride. Loving her tenderly as she ages. His eyes ever attentive on her. His arms ready to steady her. His hands reaching out to her when she falls. Picking her up to restore her, not to condemn her and scold her for her clumsiness or her inattentiveness. And a picture of the church reaching in to work alongside the groom, to be His hands and feet, to treat wounds, to pick up and restore brokenness.
And her words, "I don't know how this happened. I just don't understand. I don't usually do this." We often find ourselves in such a mess, don't we? Looking at our bruised hearts or hurt relationships and wondering how on earth we wound up looking like this -- battle-weary.
I finish cleaning her up and bandaging her hurts. She asks me what she owes me. I'm confused and say, "Nothing. I'm glad to be able to help." And it is later as I'm pondering our meeting that I know she truly does owe me nothing. It was Jesus who paid it all. For any kindness or goodness we find in this world, it is to Him we all owe.
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