She sat huddled in the cold outside the church, hood bundled around her head, backpacks at her feet. Probably all she owns. I felt bad for her, but the service wasn’t starting for another hour and a half. I was there to do a sound check, but because of a miscommunication, I was there too early. It would be an hour before anyone else arrived. I hesitated before opening the door.

“Hi Babby,” she said, looking out from under her hood. She looked tired, cold, only a few teeth, yet surprisingly cheerful. “What time does the service start?”

“Not for more than an hour,” I apologized. “There’s another event going on in the gym now, if you want to come in and get warm.” I pointed to the side door, “You can go in that way.” She shuffled that direction, but it wasn’t long before she came in the sanctuary and sat down. Just the two of us. I was uncomfortable.

I was tired and feeling sorry for myself. It had been an eventful week. I rehearsed my annoyance at having to leave the warmth of family and friends to hang out in an empty sanctuary because someone forgot to call me. Nursing my anger, I ignored the nagging feeling that I should talk to her. I picked up garbage in the pews, warmed up my instrument, and wandered to other parts of the church until more people came that I felt comfortable with.

I wanted to talk to her, but felt inept. What do I say? What if she’s crazy or wants money or sucks me dry with neediness for the next hour? I feared the unknown. Instead of asking and trusting the One with all the answers to pour His love through me, I recoiled.

I missed a chance to show another human being the love of Christ – the whole reason why the church exists – because it made me uncomfortable. I am ashamed.

The next morning I read a quote by John Henry Jowett:

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”

I thought of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, some of my favorite verses. Was that why God had put this woman in my path?

I have examined my fears of whatever “terrible” things could have happened if I had reached out to her. I have grieved over my failure to be used of God when I had the chance. I’m done beating myself up, mostly, although it’s difficult to let it go. And now I’m ready to let God use it for good.

Yes, I failed my Lord. Yes, He has forgiven me. But what follows next is the most important part. Will I let this experience change my behavior? I hope so. I’m asking for another chance, and I’m confident God will give it to me. I hope to see this woman again and apologize for ignoring her the first time. And when I see others who make me uncomfortable, and I’m tempted to think I have nothing to offer, I will look to Jesus for what is needed. He has comforted me in all my troubles so that I can pass it on to others. Even when it’s an uncomfortable situation.