Maybe God sent you

"I'm sorry, I'm not in right now," she said, then turned and smiled.

She sounded like an answering machine. I looked confused. I had no idea why she said that to me.

But then, as the conversation went on, I could tell she really wasn't listening.

I stopped talking for a moment and she didn't even notice. I believe I could have left the room and returned a few minutes later and still found her sitting there looking off into the distance.

I didn't know why until much later. Then it all made sense to me.

I've been there myself. I'll bet anything you have, too.

You're physically there at the office. You're standing right there in line. You may be at a party or seated across the table from a friend, but your mind is somewhere else, thinking about your troubles, dreaming above a loved one, wishing and hoping betters days are ahead.

"I'm sorry I'm not in right now. Please leave a message and I'll get back to you."

There are people in need all around me. They are going through the motions, but very disconnected from reality.

* Her husband lost his job today.

* Someone just went through some tests to find out if they had cancer.

* Their daughter just left for a college on the other side of the country.

* He's going through a divorce.

* She was told they might lay her off from work.

* His spouse passed away in June and this is the first anniversary without her.

* She just finished chemotherapy and now is off on her own with hope that it worked.

"Earth to Joe! Come in Joe. Are you there?" He says. "Come on, get over it. Life goes on. Everything will be all right!"

Those are empty, careless words. Where's the kindness and compassion we are called upon to exhibit to someone struggling?

It could be your best friend, your own sister or the young girl at the checkout counter.

Why are we often so self consumed that we don't take the time to say, "Is there anything I can do? Would you like to talk about it?"

A few weeks ago I wrote about a friend who was told her son was being shipped out to Iraq. Last Tuesday he left. As we were about to begin a meeting, the chaplain asked everyone to pray for her son and all the others there.

I watched her as he read a passage from the Bible. Her eyes were so intently connected to him as if watching each word spoken rise toward heaven. She nervously shook her head in agreement.

As the meeting went on I looked at her face. Her eyes were glassed over, her spirit dimmed as she methodically went about her business of signing papers and reviewing charts.

"What can I do for her?" I thought to myself.

Maybe it would be better not to say a word. Maybe I should just go about my business and let her deal with it herself.

But what good are we to each other in times like this if we turn away from someone in need? Are we in such a hurry that we curse the man moving slowly because he is so burdened with life?

Dear God,

People all around me seem lost and far away

They are looking for an answer to their challenges today.

Some of them are lonely and others are in pain

I know we shouldn't worry, there's nothing at all to gain.

But God, I feel so helpless I want to do what's right

I think about them daily and pray for them at night.

Can you send a little help? There must be something you can do.

Then the answer came from God,

"I did, my child, I sent you."

My friend, the next time you find someone who could use some help, maybe God sent you.

"I believe in you!" Bob Perks

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