I believe that God is continually eager to use us to help others if we are ready and willing.

On June 29th of this year in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a blind gentleman stumbled and fell from the subway platform onto the tracks. A brave young man jumped onto the tracks and, with the help of others, was able to lift the man safely back onto the platform. I have been on that subway platform many times. If, however, God had chosen me to be present on that occasion, I would hope that I would also have been willing to help, although at the age of 85, I certainly wasn't ready to help!

Two days previously to this, I attended a performance of The Phantom of the Opera with several other residents of the seniors' residence where I reside. I wasn't feeling too well and almost didn't go, but my daughter encouraged me to go. Neither she nor I knew that there was an eleven-year-old boy who needed help, and I was ready and willing to help.

When we took our places, I was seated beside this boy, Patrick, with his mother, who had just flown in from Calgary, Alberta, the previous day. Immediately behind us were four ladies from my residence, two of whom were ninety-five years old. I jokingly told Patrick that four vicious-looking girls were sitting behind us. He agreed that he would help to protect me and pretended to put a hex on them. They responded to the joking in kind.

The interesting conversation continued to be very friendly except when I asked him about siblings, to which he responded abruptly, "I don't want to talk about that!" Although I was surprised, I didn't say anything more.

At intermission, his step-father, who was sitting in a different area, came and took him for a break. Patrick's mother then explained that he did have two sisters, but due to a bad situation, Patrick had not been allowed to see his biological father or sisters for several years. On top of that, he was autistic. I just felt heart-sick. Here was a little boy with huge needs, and God had seated me beside him!

On his return from the break, Patrick was even more animated, sharing with me the excitement of the performance details. It was a delightful afternoon, and at its conclusion as we were preparing to leave, Patrick gave me a great big hug. Obviously, God had placed us together for a few hours — an older man, who was feeling under the weather but needing the excitement of a young man, and a young boy, who needed some of the love that was missing from his own family situation.

On the return trip to our residence, a staff member, who has an eleven-year-old son, stated that she felt that Patrick would remember more vividly the fun of his exchanges with the older ladies and me than the outstanding opera performance.

I may never see that young boy again. I do know, however, that I am glad that I was ready and willing.

Are you ready and willing when God places you in the right place to help others?

Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

Prayer: God, help each of us to be ready and willing to help others. Grant us the excitement that comes from watching You use us, particularly when we don't expect it. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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