We GENERALLY have a pretty peaceful workplace here at church. We have the occasional knock on the door from someone looking for various kinds of handouts. We have people ask for gas money, groceries, utility bills, hotel bills, and a host of other items. Last week, we had someone enter our world who was looking for, of all things, a police officer. Betty was her name. She told us that she was on her way from Alabama to Ohio and had gotten separated from her husband along the way. She had no working cell phone, knew no phone numbers, didn’t know her address, and didn’t know the address of where she was going. She had one son she could tell us about but didn’t know his phone number or where he lived. She had been sleeping in her car and was dressed in camouflage coveralls. Her only traveling companions were two parakeets and a cat. All she could tell us was that she was separated from her husband somewhere south of Atlanta and that he was driving a green GMC pickup truck. She was in a terrible mental condition, having driven around completely lost for more than 2 hours. She broke out into spontaneous tears, was very jittery – not to mention that she had a pretty severe physical handicap.
Just for the record, it is really hard to help someone who doesn’t know where they’re going or where they came from. So, we did all we knew to do – we contacted the sheriff’s department. They quickly sent out a deputy, who, upon meeting Betty, requested help from his supervisor. The sheriff’s deputies were as helpful as they could be, but even they were unable to come up with some reasonable solution for Betty’s problems. However, as they were talking with her, she managed to come up with a phone number to her husband’s phone. Not sure if she had forgotten it in the stress of the situation, or if she somehow found it in terrible clutter of her automobile. Nevertheless, she had the number now.
The sergeant called her husband (who was already in Dalton), and, in no uncertain terms, let him know that he needed to turn around and come back to Newnan and pick up his distraught wife. His reply was shocking. He said, “No, she’s going to have to come to me.” When he told the officer he wasn’t coming back, he asked if he could speak to his wife. When she got on the phone, I couldn’t hear his words, but I know from the terror in Betty’s eyes that she had just been told that he wasn’t coming back – but that she would have to come to him (through 5 o’clock Atlanta traffic). For some unexplainable reason, she agreed to go. We did our best to try to talk Betty out of that decision. She was confused; had no map, cell phone, or GPS to guide her. But she was determined. I gave her written directions, yet somehow knew she would never make it to her destination. The last I saw of Betty was her tail lights as she left the church parking lot. I learned the next day that she had been admitted to Piedmont Hospital, but I was unable to get in touch with her.
I’m not 100% sure why the Lord sent Betty our way last week, but I did find an interesting Christmas parallel hidden within Betty’s story. After all, at some point, were we not all like Betty? We were lost, hopeless, not even knowing what our destination might be. However, Jesus did for us what Betty’s husband refused to do. He came to get us. He didn’t leave us abandoned. At our point of greatest need, the Savior, Christ the Lord, came for us. He found us in our brokenness, he rescued us from darkness, and He promises to lead us safely to our destination, never once leaving us or forsaking us to fend for ourselves. He didn’t say, “You’ve got to figure out how to get to me.” He said, “I’m coming to get you. Don’t be afraid.”
That’s what the Christmas celebration really is all about. It is a celebration of Jesus coming to our rescue. Meeting Betty made me thankful that Jesus came to me, bridged the uncrossable divide between God and man. And it makes me even more hopeful for Jesus’ return! Thank you, Lord, for coming to get us!