Hi everyone! Rebekah A here. I took a long break from blog posting, most notably to focus on planning my wedding and doing all the fun wedding-planning crafts that it entailed, but something happened to me the other day that I just have to share with you all – however many of you are still reading this.
I was riding the subway home from work the other day, much like any other day, standing because let’s be real: it’s NYC during rush hour and my stop is in the middle of the line. No seats to be found. Ever. Anyway, a homeless woman boarded the train, much like any other homeless woman. She sat in a seat facing me, and then moved to a seat behind me. Then she moved again, to the other side of the train. She glared at me as she passed.
I WANTED her to know how valuable she is. I WANTED her to know that I saw her. I WANTED her to know that she matters. And so…..I smiled at her. She glared, and continued to the other side of the train. I heard her yell out “hey b***h in the blue dress, I ain’t your f***ing daughter.”. Well….I was the only one on the train in a blue dress, and it’s true: she was indeed not my daughter.
I’ve talked to a bunch of people about this incident, and everyone has a reason why it happened and why it’s to be expected. She was mentally ill, it’s New York City, sometimes when people are so beaten down by the world and in the grip of the enemy they’re uncomfortable being seen and noticed.
I get that. But in the moment it felt very spiritually profound. This encounter mattered. And I pondered it for awhile – if there were less of me and more of Jesus, would it have showed in my smile? Would it have mattered to this woman? Would she have felt love rather than discomfort? I realized that it doesn’t matter what I want to tell her, it doesn’t matter what I want her to feel. What matters is what JESUS wants her to know.
And the more I thought about it the more I realized something else. The point to this entire encounter, the REASON why it felt so profound, is this: Jesus does not want to be bound by the constraints of the world. Yes, she was mentally ill, it’s expected and even commonplace for her to cry out; Jesus wants to transcend that. Yes, I only had a split second of eye contact with her and it’s hardly time for a deep conversation or prayer; Jesus wants to transcend time. Yes she’s in the grip of the enemy and beaten down by life; Jesus wants to transcend that. Mental illness? He’s the great physician! A split second, a quick glance? Jesus is the author of time! In the grip of the enemy? Jesus already overcame the enemy!
In the moment, and after the fact, all I could hear was the cry of my heart, a still small voice telling me that Jesus wants to move beyond the extraneous stuff. The world is going to be its normal broken self, cloaked in logical reasons why. And Jesus wants to push past it. He wants to take that normalcy – the so-called “human condition” – and replace it with freedom. And He wants to do this in step with His bride. That’s me. This is why Adam and Eve were created – made in God’s image, to work with Him and steward His creations. We may have had original sin and thousands of years, but God’s desire for us hasn’t waned. And this is why encounters like this matter.
And I, for one, don’t want to get in His way. So I’m learning, slowly, through experiences like this one, to go lower. And in so doing to lift Him higher. For all the world to see. For my gaze to be His. For my steps to be His. With no constraints and no boundaries. He is so far beyond them, you guys, and the only times He needs to follow is when we put Him in that box.
So let’s shed the fear together. Let’s stand for revival. Let’s stand for restoration. Let’s stand for healing. Let’s stand for Jesus.
As for me, I’m sure I’ll plenty of more chances to practice.