“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11 NIV)
I knew of a woman who had so many sorrows encompassing her life that she literally had lost all hope. What made it more hurtful was the timing ... it was around the Christmas season and life was just “cold,” there was no warmth surrounding her. Her mind, body and soul were chilled with the aches and pains that sorrow brings upon one in such a state.
No loving family or friends, only the lonely streets of Nashville, the “Music City” of the world. However, there was no music in her life. She would walk the lonely streets, albeit, so many people were among her, laughing and joining in the dancing and singing at the many bars she passed. There was no joy for her there.
It does not snow much in Nashville, but this particular time it was snowing and to her it seemed beautiful and brought back memories of more loving days.
Yet, she could not connect with anyone from her past. No one stopped to talk to her, to ask if she needed help, to offer her food, water or a warm drink. So, she continued on to her lonely sleeping place, and that was “wherever she could find it.”
She was elderly and hurt just from old age. That caused more pain to encompass her body, beside the spiritual pain she felt.
Finding a bench near the Cumberland River, she watched the river glisten from the falling snow, as she covered herself with the scraggly blanket she carried with her. Perhaps, tonight, would be the night that would end her suffering.
She saw him approach, a man with a brown jacket, blue jeans, sandals, no socks, and a tan knitted cap upon his head. He was a tall man with big brown eyes and a very ready smile.
As he came closer to her, she was not afraid because there was something different about this man. He spoke in a very manly, yet, gentle and pleasant voice. He asked if he could buy her a meal at a restaurant nearby and have dinner with her.
Of course, she thought she was not “dressed” to go anyplace fancy ... but he said it did not matter, “All would be well.” So, yes, she shyly agreed to go with him.
He was so reassuring as he helped her rise from the bench and together they walked to the nearest place to eat.
As they conversed in the warm atmosphere, people seemed, she thought, to look down upon her and she was still so sad.
I asked her about The Man, and she said, “Oh, he must have been in his 30s and told her to never mind anyone’s looks or actions. She was with him and that was all that mattered.”
He talked to her about God and how much he knew God loved her for God had seen her life and knew that she had done all she could to live the “right kind of life.” The young man reminded her that God does not send us troubles, He gives us free will. Sometimes, like any parent, God has to step back and let “the children” make their own mistakes and then, eventually, the children will choose the right path and come back to God, who is our Father.
He reminded her of the Woman at the Well, he reminded her that not all people who go to church are better than those who do not. They may follow the “laws of the church,” just as the Pharisees of the “old days,” did, but still not love each other as they should, thus perhaps, not loving God as much as they should, because they are so consumed by who they are, and how much they “stand for” in the church.
After dinner and the loving hope he had given to her, the man took her to a shelter where he knew she would be safe and warm and get the help she needed.
Indeed, she was welcomed that night of all nights, Dec. 24, and lived and was able to work in the shelter for years, serving God and loving all those who came to her as the “unloved” and left feeling totally loved by God.
She never did get his name, that precious man who “saved” her. She asked one of the women at the shelter if she knew the name of the man that brought her to their shelter and the other woman said, “Oh, that was Joshua. Joshua brings us a lot of folks and he just seems to disappear for a while and then when we least expect, there is Joshua, especially around Christmas time.”
Has there been a Joshua in your life? Do feel lonely and without hope sometimes, do you feel unloved, or do you relate to this story I tell you?
If so, you just may have met Joshua ... or you may have yet to meet Joshua.
I have met Joshua ... my own version of HIM ... I pray you have the opportunity this Christmas season to embrace Jesus and maybe you will meet a “Joshua” along the path you walk.
Praying that we all keep hope, peace and love for each other in our hearts and souls, because, to me, that is the greatest commandment and an honor to God that we can give back to Him. To love one another as He loves us and to love God with all our very being.
Blessed Christmas to you and yours and any animal companions you may have, because, yes, even God’s other children, need Him. He is always there for all of His children. Please try and be there for HIM when He calls upon you to give, love, hope and charity this season and every second of every day.