Cardboard Sign // “Please Help”

I feel sweet Audrey’s hand grasp mine and her little fingers intertwine with mine. She leans her head on my shoulder and I feel a tear drip onto my arm.

“Audrey, what’s wrong sweetheart? Is it that man back there?” I ask.

With tears welling in her eyes, she nods her head.

At a stoplight a few streets back, there was a homeless man standing on the corner with a cardboard sign reading “Please Help.”

Audrey had leaned over while we were at the stop light to grab the box of leftovers from lunch a few minutes before. But, the light turned green and there wasn’t enough time to get him the food – she was devastated. She wanted so badly to help this man and to give him the only thing she could.

We tried to turn around, but traffic was horrible and we had to rush to the airport so her and her family could catch their plane.

As we drove, she sad there in the back of the car, holding my hand and tears streaming down her face. The only thing I knew to do was to pray. To pray for the man, Audrey, and for the Lord to continue to cultivate compassion in her heart.

We prayed that the man would feel the love and presence of Jesus and accept Him as his Savior if he had not already done so. We prayed for a greater understanding of what it looks like to say that the Lord is truly all we need. We prayed for the Lord to continue to soften our hearts to the people around us and the situations we are daily in; we prayed for our eyes to be opened to how we can be Jesus to every person we come in contact with. We prayed, asking the Lord for provision and protection over that man. We prayed for the Lord to give us His eyes, and let us love the way He does.

She held my hand tighter, and I fought back tears. The way her precious, nine-year-old heart was filled with compassion for the man was such a beautiful picture of the Lord’s relentless and unwavering love for us. Her and her family got out of the car to catch their flight, and she hugged my neck and whispered in my ear, “Please, if you can, go back and give him the food.” I kept thinking of Matthew 25 where Jesus says:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’” [verses 35-40]

I hopped in the front seat of the car and watched them walk towards the airport doors, and I drove off. I fought back tears. Tears of sadness because of sin and the brokenness of our world. Tears because I was convicted at how easy it is to become apathetic to the needs of people around me. Most of all though, I was fighting back tears because of how beautiful it was to see the love of Christ through Audrey.

I am inspired by her and her family on a daily basis. I am encouraged to see how the Lord is cultivating her heart for Him and sharing His love with people. What a beautiful God we serve!

I looped around the highway and rolled down my window and handed the box of food and a cup of iced tea to the gentleman with the sign. Thank you, Audrey, for reminding all of us in the car how loving our God is and how beautiful the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. You, sweet girl, ministered so much to me.

Audrey, myself, and Alanna. These girls are so special.

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