Passing the test.

Did you ever see Stan Lee’s TV show “Who Wants to be a Superhero”? The contestants were assigned tasks, but there was a hidden assignment that they didn’t know about. In one they had to get from point A to point B really fast – but there was a distraction. A young girl was on their route, crying loudly about how she was separated from her mom. Unbeknownst to the contestants, she was an actress – and this was the real test. The ones who passed the test that round were the ones who stopped and helped her. They didn’t worry about being late on their time – their focus was in helping.

How often do we notice what the real test is? How often do we stop and take time to help?

I admit I’m terrible at it. I have a lot of excuses why I can’t help.

I’m late getting to work. I have ice cream that is going to melt. I don’t know how to help. I don’t have the tools, the training, the time.

So I don’t stop. I drive on by. A lot.

When I do stop, I find that I actually do have everything that is required. I think it is going to require a cast, and really it requires a band-aid. I think it is going to require a therapist, and really it just requires a hug. I’m starting to think that I certainly don’t have to stop for everything, but the things I do get over my fear and stop for turn out to be things that are within my power.

Sometimes my problem is that I don’t want to get too involved. I don’t want to make personal connections. It is way too common that people I help start to see me as something other than a servant. They start to see me as special. They mistake the messenger for the message. They start trying to follow me instead of the One I follow. They ask for my phone number. They want to become friends on Facebook.

It isn’t me. It isn’t me at all. It never was me. I’m just the face that God wears sometimes. I’m just the hands that God uses sometimes. When they see me again, I’m more than likely just going to be me, plain old me, not special, not sparkly.

So sometimes I don’t want to get involved for me, and sometimes I don’t want to get involved for God. I don’t want people to mistake me being me as a slight. Because when God is working through me, it is really amazing. There is a connection. There is understanding, and healing, and compassion.

Me? I’m an introvert. I feel lost in a crowd. When I’m just me and the Spirit isn’t there, I’m not all that. I’m not bad, but I’m not what they think I am.

Sometimes I warn people if I think I’ll see them again. I had to do this a lot in college. The energy often isn’t there the next time. That energy doesn’t mean that “we are meant to be together.” It doesn’t mean that we should “hook up.” It doesn’t mean I’m going to be your guru or your girlfriend. It just meant that God needed me to help you right then, and I listened.

Does this mean I’m passing the test, or failing it? While I think it is essential to always point people towards God, I think it is also important to always be a vehicle for God. I’m not, always. It is tiring. It is hard. But then again, so is exercise, and I do that because I think I’ll get stronger if I do it. Perhaps this faith-walk is the same.

I still don’t think I’m going to stop to change out a tire for somebody, especially when I have just bought ice cream.