By Joel A. Hess –
“Excuse me, I hate to do this. I was just jumped a couple days ago. The police won’t do anything. I’ve been trying to get home. I came here for a vet tech interview, but now I got nothing. I need to get on the train back to Rockport. I have $40 and just need $24.”
Standing on the platform with my family waiting for the brown line to Armitage, I wondered if others were watching, smirking, wondering if I would give in. Of course I did, though I was concerned that the people watching out of the corner of their eye probably thought I was foolish.
I was foolish to give her anything. Her story didn’t add up. She was jittery and went from talking about the day to her mother dying. She thanked me for the money and told me she would pay it back.
On the train home, my family talked about whether she was telling the truth or not. “Of course not,” I said. They were impressed by her story. I told them that desperation will make you do anything. It will make you real clever. Needing another fix will make you real clever.
We wondered how one could get to that point. As the women’s experience at first seemed foreign to me, I realized I knew someone close to me who had reached that point. Lies upon lies to get what they want. Then I wondered about myself. What lies I tell myself to keep behaviors safe. What extent I would go to in order to keep my daily routine of whatever—a comfortable house, buying stuff, and who knows what little regular sins I don’t want to give up.
Like that woman, I think I’m really smart. God must think I’m a moron. He sees right through me. Every time I come up to the communion table. Every time I cry at night asking for His mercy. Every time I confess on Sunday, “I’m a poor, miserable sinner.” What a fake. How foolish I am.
How foolish is God? I know people thought I was a sucker helping that lady. Some probably thought she needed to learn a lesson about lying and consequences. She was just going to waste my money. Maybe I even enabled her to keep on keeping on.
What kind of sucker is God? Giving me forgiveness. Telling me all my sins are washed away. Handing out the precious body and blood of His Son, who hung on the cross for my sins! How wasteful God is to reach into His mercy and give me His love, His forgiveness, His eternal life.
How ridiculous God’s Son looked dying on the cross for liars like me. Yet He did. And for that I am so thankful. I know that my God is a sucker like that. He can’t help up forgive when I half heartedly cry out to Him. What a fool God looked hanging on the cross for people like me! Only someone crazy in love doesn’t care what other people think of him.
Some might say that girl got away with a lie. Some might say that she was simply given more help in doing wrong. Yet perhaps my foolish gift to her will remind her that the universe might seem messed up, but there is goodness, no, there is a God who recklessly loves and keeps on giving.