17 Miles to Hope

I made a friend today. Her name is Sue. She stopped into our church today to sit in our sanctuary. Most of our staff had left for the day and I was finishing up a training I was a part of. When she was done I invited her to our Easter Celebration on Sunday. She said she was just passing through on her way to Kentucky. It didn’t take me long to realize she was on foot- with all her belongings on her back. She had been walking out of town and saw our church. Our church has a beautiful glass cross that is huge and visible from the Highway. That’s why she stopped in.

I brought her home to dinner and introduced her as my friend to my family. She had a hot meal and a hot shower. But this isn’t a story about that- God just opened the door and I stepped through.

After a couple of hours in my home I took her down the road. To a place called Hope, Indiana. As we drove we passed the sign telling us it was only 17 miles away. I asked her, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if that were true? If true hope were only just 17 miles away?” She doesn’t take much stock in names she said.

You see, Sue has no Hope. She says she and God “are done.” She feels like He favors other people (specifically other races) above her own. She has no family. Her children are dead and her husband gone. She is going to Kentucky not because she knows someone there or has a job waiting. She’s never been there and knows no one. She is utterly alone. “But I can handle it. That’s how I like it.,” she says. But deep down I know that’s what she keeps telling herself to make it through her circumstances.

She’s going to KY looking for a new start. Needing a new life. Wanting to start over. As much as I tried to tell her that we’re made in the image of God and she’s special and beautiful and loved. So loved in fact that Jesus died on the cross for her. She continues to say, she and God are “done.”

I don’t believe her. She came to our church because she saw a cross from a Highway. Maybe she truly believes that she is done with God. But God isn’t done with her. He sent me to love on her. He sent my son to tell her “you’re not a stranger- you’re a friend.” He had me drop her off in Hope.

I pray that Sue will realize her new start is possible- but only possible in Christ. He has a plan for her. He wants her to walk in freedom from the pain, guilt, sin, and loneliness. He is our HOPE and our future.

My heart breaks for Sue. Our world is filled with people like her. I’m so humbled and thankful that I could be her friend today when I know she has so few. People- our world needs Jesus. Our world needs Hope. It’s not very far away. Who will YOU bring?
Posted by Rachel Rhoadarmer