Eating restaurant food was a luxury that made my mouth water. I was on my way to use a gift card I’d received for Christmas, imagining the taste of the scratch kitchen meal I would soon eat, when I passed a homeless woman standing on a median with a sign. I considered her, but kept driving.
I got to the restaurant and while waiting curbside for the food, I felt like Holy Spirit was prompting me to give to the homeless woman. I wasn’t sure if I was hearing correctly and I kept seeking confirmation.
As I was worshipping to “Hero (feat. Seph Schlueter),” a woman came out of the restaurant with my order. As she handed it to me, she said, “Have a blessed day.” As I looked through the order, I saw that it was marked with the time of pick-up: 1:22pm on 1/11/22. Her name, printed on the receipt, was Destiny.
Money was tight. I only had a few dollars in my purse, and the restaurant food was such a special treat that I didn’t want to give it away. I asked Holy Spirit to check my heart, and felt like I was being selfish, fearful of giving, and didn’t want to be inconvenienced by the route I would have to navigate to get back to the woman. She was on a median, and the traffic pattern was complicated.
I surrendered and set my heart to be obedient, dying to my fleshly desires. I had ordered a family meal to stretch the value of the gift card, and one of the containers was a box of croissants. It was the only food in the bag that wouldn’t need refrigeration. My plan was to give her the bread and the $6 in my purse. For me and my situation, it was a painfully generous gift.
So I drove around trying to get back to the woman. As I pulled into the turning lane by the median where she was standing, the light turned green. I had a small window of opportunity. I got the bread, money, and silverware together in a pile and set it up to be able to give it to her quickly and not hold up the traffic behind me.
I rolled down the window and tried to hand it to her.
She looked at the box and with a cutting voice said, “I can’t take that.”
I was shocked and quickly sought Holy Spirit about what to do. I felt like a fool holding the box of bread out my window. I saw her sign that said she needed “MONEY.”
I pulled the cash that had been hidden under the silverware and held it up to show her. When she saw the bills, she took them.
I drove off, looking in my rearview mirror to see the cars that had been waiting on me, witnessing the scene.
I had to fight embarrassment. I had to fight offense. I had to fight rejection.
I had put together a sacrificial gift, and to me it was very generous. I would have been grateful to receive it. It was something that was hard for me to let go of.
In the moment when she said, “I can’t take that,” I thought of just keeping the money and driving off because she wasn’t grateful. But she had a need, and I felt like before anything had transpired, Holy Spirit had called me to give.
As I drove off, I wondered if I had heard correctly. I wanted to harden my heart. There was a temptation not to give anymore because that one person was ungrateful.
But I knew offense and a hard heart wasn’t the answer. So I tried to be empathetic.
Maybe she was gluten intolerant. Maybe she was afraid of me poisoning the food. I was a stranger after all. She didn’t know my heart. Maybe she was defensive from a hard life on the streets.
Maybe she really was ungrateful. Didn’t matter. God still loved her. He was calling me to love her. He was calling me to give to her.
As I came to that truth, my heart hurt and I started crying. I had been asked to be obedient, and it had produced rejection and pain. It touched a place in my heart of past wounds. I had a choice. I could fall into old patterns of fear and bitterness and rejection, or I could take it to the cross.
As I was praying and surrendering the matter to God, I remembered the scripture,
“Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
I could feel the swirl bearing down on me, trying to pull me into agreement with the enemy. I needed to overcome the war in my soul. I started declaring to myself, “I was obedient. I was obedient. I was obedient.”
The enemy was crouching at the door, trying to get an opening into my mind to get me to believe the lie that I was rejected. I had gotten too much healing to go back to that dark place. It was true that the woman hadn’t taken my bread offering, but I was still a loved daughter of God. I had given to her as an offering of obedience to the LORD.
As I was warring, I heard Heavenly Father’s sweet voice say, “I am pleased.”
Suddenly, I felt His delight in my yes touch the pain that the obedience produced, bringing healing to old wounds. His acceptance was greater than the woman’s rejection and as I melted in His love, I was able to let go of the pain of the experience and rest in the pleasure of His company.
As I wrestled to let go of the pain, Holy Spirit brought to remembrance a line from Apostle Justin Goff’s 1st day message at Freedom House.
“Don’t ever be ashamed of your bread.”
God plants seeds in preparation for the harvest of your pathway, pressing them down and cultivating them in the grounds of the heart.
I bawled my eyes out the rest of the way home, worshipping the goodness of God.
Jesus offered the most precious gift while He walked the earth, and He was rejected by everyone (enemies and friends alike). Still, He was obedient to the Father. It doesn’t matter if we are rejected by man, because we are accepted by the Father. Pleasing the LORD is the reward.
When I got home, I took a bite of some of the “rejected” bread. It was the most delicious croissant I had ever tasted – buttery and sweet and glazed with honey. I became thankful for the woman’s rejection, because the bread became my blessing.
Manna, touched by heaven.
I ate of the croissant and the Bread of Life in the same day. And the bread became more precious to me because of what it took to keep it.