“Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
When we receive kindness from people in our lives it’s heart-warming. However, when we receive the kindness of strangers, it’s one of the purest acts of goodness.
At the start of July I came off my bike. I was in the cycle lane, when all of a sudden I was face-first over the handle bars. I remember my face scraping across the stony concrete, feeling completely dizzy and confused. I was at the side of a busy main road. To make matters worse, I’d broken my phone a few days earlier, which meant I couldn’t call for help.
A few moments went by and my injuries felt like they were getting worse; my nose was streaming with blood and all I could do was stare at my hands as blood from my nose dripped into them.
Then a white van pulls up and two complete strangers spring into action. They were the first people to stop at the side of the road. They called an ambulance, stayed with me until it arrived, and took my bike back to my house.
A few days later, I found a napkin in my coat pocket. Written on the napkin was their number. I sent a message to thank them for stopping to help me. Their response was genuine and sincere.
“Looking the other way has never been an option, especially in a world that teaches us only to care for ourselves. Helping you was a choice and choices make us human.”
God sent amazing people to the roadside that day. I was on my way to church when I came off my bike. I didn’t understand why this had happened: at first, I felt like it was because I wasn’t worthy or ready to hear the message, but the fact is, God cared – and He sent wonderful people to me.
Often when we face trials, they build us up and build our resilience. A few months later, I was faced with homelessness. It was a tumultuous and difficult time. I reached a low point and was struggling in almost every aspect of my life. On one particularly bad day, I was feeling invisible and unimportant. A friend invited to me to a young adult event at church that was taking place that evening. I eventually decided to go.
At the end of the worship session, I was sat on a chair at the side of the room when a lady came up to me. She gave me a Bible and asked me if she could pray with me. I was taken aback by this kindness. I didn’t own a Bible – the closest I had was an app on my phone, which often sat inactive. Yet somehow she knew I needed one. We began talking about life in general, and then eventually about my living situation. The kind lady, whom I later discovered is called Catherine, prayed with me. My heart instantly felt warm and less burdened.
Almost five months later, I saw Catherine again. I’d stopped her completely by chance in a corridor. We hadn’t seen each other at all over the in-between months. Honestly, I didn’t recognise her at first, although when we began to speak, I recognised her voice from the prayer. She remembered me too. Minutes into the conversation, she asked me how I was getting on and about my living situation. I was stunned she’d remembered me. It has been months, and we’d only spent about 20 minutes together previously. Catherine had remembered me. I no longer felt invisible.
Over the last eight months, I have come to appreciate the kindness of strangers. Times have been difficult. Yet the goodness and kindness of people have helped me through some extremely tough moments. It may be through seemingly small things, but I hope that one day, I’m able to share the kindness and love that was shown to me – the love of Christ – with others.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31)