Just a Touch of His Hand
by Sarah Sutton
Last weekend, Dave and I were on an odyssey (long wandering or journey) photo shoot in the southern part of the state. At 2 p.m. on Friday, he texted and said we would leave at 4 p.m. for the overnight shoot. This is usually how it works when he gets the shooting bug, and it’s why I keep a bag packed with essential medical and overnight supplies. And I don’t leave home without a snack sack for the possible endless hours spent in a desolate field waiting for “golden hour” and the clouds, sun and cattle to arrange themselves according to his specifications. LOL!
We began with a Friday evening scout trip of Turner Falls. I had never been (to the shock and disbelief of everyone on Facebook who has been), and it was beautiful. No red dirt or muddy water here—just gorgeous, clear turquoise water. Back in the day, my youth minister never stopped here on our way home from Falls Creek because we had a seven-hour bus ride back to Woodward in an old, un-air conditioned church bus that topped out at a whopping 53 mph.
After a 5:30 a.m. location shoot the next morning, we grabbed lunch at Chick-fila in Ardmore. I couldn’t help but notice a woman several people up the line from us. She had on a headband, and she carried a McAlister’s Deli catering sack stuffed full of items I couldn’t see. She left the line with no food, and I lost track of her.
Several minutes later we sat down, and she sat at the table behind us, again with no food. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and immediately told Dave I needed to get her something to eat. In his best Sherlock Holmes “I’m going to turn around and look but not really look” imitation, he did just that. He’s good at it. He noticed she was drinking a bottle of orange juice, was checking her cell phone, was dressed in a pant suit and making notes in a notebook. What if she was waiting on someone else, and they had a meeting scheduled? That totally shifted my paradigm and threw me into a state of indecision. What if she was a work-at-home mom, and the sack full of unknown items contained samples she was selling? What if she didn’t need my help at all? Would she be offended if I offered? What if she truly was hungry? Had she just come inside to cool off and use the restroom? What if she was waiting for just a touch of Jesus that day? Let me ask you—the reader—what would you have done?
After lunch, Dave decided we would tour the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and Cultural Center, since we were close and had never been. Again, we were amazed at the beautiful clear blue water and forested areas of cool shade. He couldn’t shoot pictures because apparently everyone else in Oklahoma had also decided to camp there for the day. The last parking place was located in front of the bison paddock, which contained no bison. One of the main goals of the day was to photograph bison. So off across the state we went to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge.
After photographing every available bison, longhorn cow and prairie dog in “prairie dog city,” at all angles and at every hour the sun lowered in the sky, other tourists began asking him if it was safe to pet the bison. I guess he looked like he was a specialist in bison behavior. He wanted to tell people—yes! It’s absolutely safe to pet the bison! Go on out, and I’ll take your picture! LOL! But he didn’t, and instead did a great job on discouraging such silly, ignorant behavior. See a YouTube video here in Yellowstone.
We headed home at dusk, and while Dave was re-fueling the truck at I-40 and Council Road, I couldn’t help but be drawn to a woman sitting on the ground in front of the convenience store. Was she a store employee taking a break? Or was she a victim of sex trafficking and just waiting on a ride? Do I approach her or not? What if she asks us for a ride? What if we give her a ride, and she has a gun and robs us? Or what if we’re her only ticket out of a terrible situation? Dear reader, what would you have done?
Ministry is never easy. Ministry is never convenient. Ministry is hard and sometimes dirty. A lot of times, Jesus put his schedule aside to stop and talk to the outcast. What if the Samaritan had not stopped? The man lying on the side of the road probably would have died.
We just have to look with His eyes and not our own with each encounter. God isn’t calling me to fix the whole world’s problems, just to offer a touch of Him to those who are hurting.
Author bio: Sarah has been a member of CRBC since 1969 (minus a few years living out of town) and has been employed there since 1984 in a variety of roles. She enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, playing the flute, serving her Savannah cats, and of course, photography adventures with hubs.