"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" Psalm 103:1-2
She’s a regular, they tell me. Comes there every day at the same time. "Two dollars is all I need. Jus’ two dollars for the city bus. Two dollars." She stammers the same chorus, tugging at her faded pink sweater. Her eyes dart nervously about and with a shaking hand she wipes the sweat from her forehead.
She caught me off-guard, the money in my hand: a 10 and a wad of ones. "Jus’ two dollars," she pleaded. "For the city bus." Before I had time to think, I passed her the two dollars, and she slipped off around the corner. I turned back to face the man gathering my food and was met by his scowl. "She’s a regular. Every night. The same thing." His face insisted that my money was not going to the city bus. And for a moment, I was angry. He’s right. That money is not going to public transportation. It’s going to her next hit, or to her next drink, or something equally horrible. And then I remembered.
I am the beggar in the pink sweater, worrying at its fraying sleeve, stammering out a request. And my ever-gracious Father in Heaven gives, knowing that I will take His gift and twist it into a grotesque caricature of His intention. I will take the good He gives and use it for my own purposes. I will even misrepresent myself when I ask. "For the city bus…" I dare to come back again, time after time, boldly asking for more after I have abused His goodness. And still He gives. How amazing is that kind of grace and mercy?
I don’t know where my two dollars went. And I don’t know where that woman went (although I sincerely hope it was the city bus …). But I know this: next time I go to the mall in the evening, I will have my two dollars ready.