Lindi and I were good friends when we were really young, but we lost contact and hadn’t seen each other in years. Then we connected again, and began hanging out. At the time, I was working two jobs: A day job (9-5) and playing in a band at night (9-1AM).
While we had resumed our friendship, Lindi had some well-deserved concerns about me. I was spending my nights in bars, and was pretty rough in speech and demeanor. I was a new Christian, and while I loved the Lord and was enthusiastic, I had never been in any kind of evangelical church. and had no idea about the culture or norms. One day she invited me to a church picnic, and I broke out a cigar. It never occurred to me to look and see that no one else was smoking, and I had never been in a church where this was a problem. When I was growing up, the priest used to officiate mass with a visible pack of cigarettes in his pocket. Needless to say, she was mortified, and “got a headache”. We left early, and I did not find out why till much later.
Lindi had a job working nights at a convenience store at the time. She had been a nurse, but back then this paid very little. She had an old Plymouth Valiant and lived in an inexpensive apartment down the street from a bar. One night, a drunk crashed into her car where it was parked, totaled it, and drove off. The next morning she had no car, nothing but liability insurance, and no way of replacing it. She lost her job as a nurse because she couldn’t make it to work, and the convenience store was within walking distance. The night shift there was the only work available to her.
In contrast to her reservations about me, I, on the other hand, was smitten. From my point of view, she was a beautiful, talented, godly, educated women with a heart for others. As our friendship progressed, I wanted to spend more and more time with her.
And so, I got in the habit of going by her convenience store on the way home from my night gig. I’d get there about 1:30 AM or so. She’d let me go behind the counter, and I would grab a plastic milk crate, and sit on it, just so I could be near her. Some nights, it was slow and we could talk. Other nights it got busy and we barely had time to speak a word. But, night after night, I would sit on that milk crate and gaze fondly at the back of her head as she waited on customers. I’d stay there for an hour and a half or two. Then I went home, got to sleep about 3:30 or 4, and then woke up at 7:30 or 8 to go to my day job.
I was doing my bible reading today, and the Lord got me meditating on this time at the convenience store, remembering sitting on that plastic milk crate, tired, and sleep deprived, but so excited about spending time with her, even if it was only looking at the back of her head.
And then the Lord made me realize that this is how he had treated me. All my years before becoming a Christian, he would hang around me, smitten. Most of the time, I was so busy that I didn’t even know He was there. Occasionally, I knew He was near, but I had my reservations about Him. After all, didn’t He cause the crusades and other religious wars, promote violence and intolerance and hatred, and judge and condemn others just for not being Christians? And yet, knowing how I felt about Him, and even when I alternated between denying He existed and railing at Him unjustly, he was just there, sitting on a plastic milk crate, looking at the back of my head, because I was too busy to talk to him.
Even now, when I get busy, or I get caught up in worries and my own poor choices, and spend time acting like He doesn’t exist, He still is there, not out of obligation, but because He loves me so much He will spend time with me, just looking a the back of my head.
I John 1:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!