As we spoke, the small middle-aged man in the wheel chair told me, “My parents taught me never to trust anybody.”
“Nobody?” I asked.
“Yes, nobody.” He answered.
“Life can be like a hot iron leaving scars on us when we accidentally touch it.” As I sat alone in the reception area, that thought came to me as I contemplated what this man had shared with me that morning. Yes, sometimes the marks left on us in childhood last a lifetime. But do they have to? Do we have to allow these marks we received as vulnerable children to become ugly scars?
Why did this stranger open up to me as he had? Was it because I recognized him as a person and not just a person in a wheel chair? I’m not sure, but I believe the Spirit of God within me was noticed by him, enabling him to open up. He probably wasn’t even aware of God’s presence, but God was aware of him.
God chose to use this chance meeting of two people to begin to draw him out of himself. Like the venom from a snake bite the “poison” of our lives does not have to remain with us. God wants to draw it out. He has great pity on us and wants us to be whole and healthy. He wants us to be filled with hope, expectation, joy, laughter and a willingness to try something new.
Why do we follow our old ways of doing things? Is it because it is a path, like a well worn path through the forest, that is easy to follow and takes no effort? Any new path is a little frightening. What if we get lost? It’s not well traveled and who knows what strange things we may encounter. But we must remember that the old path will take us right back to old familiar places with all of their problems.
Is this what God wants for us? No! He wants us to follow new paths in the hope of finding better results. If we don’t we will find that we are like this man in the wheel chair. Locked in our past and unwilling to move on.