Wednesday, November 26, 2014

To See

Two days a week I work at a locked psychiatric hospital located in south Los Angeles.  Tucked neatly between Inglewood and Compton, it's not in an area you want to be after dark and I recently discovered that it's not a place I want to be during daylight hours either.  As I took my exit one day recently, I approached the intersection where I make my last right turn to get to the facility.  When I neared I saw a man running across the street to my left with several more men running after him.  The scene was ominous, but it wasn't until I directed my attention to the stop light ahead that I began to fervently pray.  Across the street from me was a group of at least five other males, one of whom was on the ground being beaten so mercilessly that I feared the others would kill him. I didn't know whether or not they had guns, but given the area I knew a shooting wasn't unlikely and I was sitting right in the crossfire.  With a car in front of me, behind me, and beside me, I felt trapped and scared.  In a panicked state I could only watch in horror and pray to the heavens as he lay there on the ground while a multitude relentlessly assailed him. The truth is, I didn't know what to do.  Not knowing how much more violent it was going to get, I took a quick inventory of my options, but wedged between three cars I could only wait and seek the Lord. As I tearfully watched the man being attacked, I begged God to make them all stop.  I could think of nothing else to do but pray, so I prayed. And prayed. And prayed.  I had no idea what would happen next as I examined the flailing victim on the ground and my own precarious position. My heart hurt for the entire situation and my mind raced with what ifs.  The scene reeked of gang violence and I couldn't understand why I was there at that exact moment in time.  I didn't know what the Lord wanted of me right then or why timing worked out perfectly for me to witness it all.  Was I supposed to help somehow, and if so, in what way? Though I prayed relentlessly, I felt useless and frightened.  I pleaded for God to intervene and then suddenly the car in front of me moved and I had the opportunity to go around him.  I took one last glance at the ongoing assault and sped away in fitful prayer. I sought the Lord's intervention, but also my own understanding. Why was I there? What was God's purpose in allowing me to see it all? It would be days later before I realized that the answer was in the question.