This story is by Tina Weaver and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Snow fell on her face like shards of glass. Donna wondered if she touched her face, would her fingers come away bloody? Bent against the wind and the Minnesota cold, she moved as fast as her feet would take her without falling.
The line of human baggage waiting to enter the mission, was her goal. At the end of the line craning her neck to see to the front, she hoped she hadn’t arrived too late for a bed ticket.
She’d been at a job interview and hurried as fast as her tennis shoes could take her, to the mission, on the slippery snow-covered sidewalks. With shallow breaths, she cupped her hands over her face and whispered to anyone listening, “Please, please let me get a ticket for a bed tonight.” No one listened. Who would hear her? There was no god. Really? A thought popped into her head. She pushed the questionable response away.
How had this come to be her fate? At one time she had a job, a car, an apartment and all those nice things. First, she lost her job then unemployment ran out. She sold everything she had to make the rent and pay for food. There was nothing left to sell and she was too proud to ask her friends for any more handouts. Her phone was disconnected. With no way to contact her, the friends disappeared.
Her parents sold what they could, to help, but they were far away and didn’t have extra money to send. She was homeless and helpless. Tears that had coursed down her cheeks in previous weeks were dry. She had no feeling left; both from the cold and despair.
The line of people shuffled forward and she continued to hope for a bed ticket. Warm air and the smell of food flowed over her as she entered the building. Chairs in rows faced a podium where a church service would be held, then food, then a bed.
Donna took her bed ticket from a fresh faced young man and found a seat in the far corner of the room. She’d attended church all her life. She’d sung in the choir and taught Sunday School, but work and other things moved into her life and church took time from her goals. She closed her eyes against the sight of the church group who faced the needy. Familiar songs went forth and she hardened her heart as her ears heard the words.
A woman stood and told how she and her husband had once been drug addicts. She told how at the lowest moment of her life, in a place like this, she heard for the first time about God and his Son. The moment she gave her heart and life to God the desire for drugs was taken away, she and her husband’s lives were changed. Now they were here to offer help to anyone who wanted it.
The loud voice screamed in Donna’s head that it was a lie. The woman had help. Someone helped her get out of that life. Another softer voice countered with, ‘freely ye ask, freely I give.’
Then scenes from the past years raced through her mind. The times she had blown up at people, resisted taking the higher way and to get her own way. The reviews she received from work about her attitude. The soft voice whispered, “If you would have sought me and found me, all this would not have happened.”
Then a voice so loud in her head, she gripped the chair seat to keep from falling over. “This was the fault of the economy. It happens to many people. You aren’t so special to think that it wouldn’t have happened if you had called on God for help. Don’t be stupid.”
A man in the front stood with tears in his eyes, “I’m asking you to give up yourself and let God take your life and make it His. Do you want this life so much that you won’t take what goodness, peace and love He offers?”
Hurt, anger and fear warred with love and caring in Donna’s heart. What she knew to be true; God did love her, in spite of all she had done. He loved her even though she had tried to do it all on her own and failed. How could He get her out of this mess, did she deserve to be helped? The man called out again, “God loves you so much that if you the only one left on this earth, he still would have died on the cross for your soul. Won’t you give all this up for him?” They sang a song she remembered from her church days. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling…. She didn’t realize tears overflowed her eyes and ran down her cheeks. She could barely see through her blurry vision.
No matter what, you’re still a bum on the streets. Money, a job and an apartment aren’t going to fall out of heaven for you. That horrible voice shouted in her ear,
“That isn’t for you to figure out,” The reformed drug addict sitting next to her said.
Donna looked at the woman, “How did you know?”
“God told me to come tonight, to tell my story. Someone needed to hear it. Did you hear it?” Donna knew she wasn’t asking if she listened to her story, but did she hear THE STORY.
She nodded, “I know what to do. I was there once.”
“Then what’s holding you back?”
“You don’t understand, I’m homeless, I have no place to go, no job, no clothes but these.” Donna pointed to the backpack.
“Give it all to God. He can change it.”
“How? There’s no jobs out there, I’ve looked, I have no place to go.”
“Why are you trying to do God’s job?” was the woman’s quiet response. “He wants you to just let him take care of you. You already know what to do.”
The resistance in Donna broke and tears flowed from somewhere deep in her soul. She didn’t care who was there or who heard. “Oh God I’m sorry. Sorry for not believing you loved me and would care for me. Please give me a clean heart and make me ready for heaven. No matter what happens tonight, I want to know your love.” Her heartfelt cries were heard and a sweet spirit filled her soul. That strident voice faded from her mind and in place was a song she remembered. God will take care of you, through every day, or all the way. He will take care of you, God will take care of you.
When she lifted her eyes, she saw the lovely faces of the church group, she also saw faces of some of the other homeless people kneeling around them with tears in their eyes. Hope and faith in action.
God is Good All of the time.