What Love Looks Like

Times are tough, so you see them everywhere. Sitting on the corner with a makeshift sign, holding out a dirty cup for change. Shuffling down the street with all their worldly possessions in a shopping cart. Curled up in a cardboard box under an overpass.

The broken. The rejected and dejected. The lonely. The poor. The outcasts. The forgotten.

Sometimes I barely notice them. Sometimes I pretend to barely notice them. Sometimes I’m moved and I help. Sometimes I just move on. But sometimes I see them. And sometimes I see even more—sometimes I see Jesus.

I had an appointment this morning that ran late so I was rushing to work. I needed gas and stopped at a gas station with a connected convenience store. While the gas was pumping, I ran into the store for a drink.

That’s when I saw her.

She was sitting to the side of the door surrounded by various plastic bags that contained all her earthly “treasures.” She looked ancient and frail, with a face as cracked and weathered as an old leather glove.

I was walking by quickly, but we made eye contact. She looked away before I did. She wasn’t asking for money. In fact, she wasn’t asking for anything—at least not with words. She just looked away and protectively drew her plastic bags close to her chest as if to reassure herself they were still there.

I walked into the store, but my heart was still gripped by the look on her face. I wanted to do “something” so I bought her some food. I brought out a banana and sandwich. She only had a few remaining teeth, so I thought they would be easy for her to chew.

“I thought you might be hungry, so these are for you. Bless you.”

Her eyes met mine again for a brief second. She quickly nodded her head in thanks and took the bag from me. I think I may have even heard a softly mumbled, “God bless you.” I walked back toward my car, got in and drove off.

But my heart stayed behind.

Lord, did I do the right thing? Should I go back and pray for her? Give her money? Should I have asked her what she needed and given her the dignity to choose? What else can I do?

He didn’t answer. I was late for work, so I kept going.

I’ve been thinking about her ever since.

The Lord didn’t reassure me that I did the right thing. And He didn’t convict me that I should have done more. He just let me feel His heart. He let me feel his compassion for this one hurting soul.

It was never supposed to be this way.

Every life has value—even those who have become invisible and forgotten by polite society. But heaven never forgets. Jesus is still near the broken hearted. He is still a defender of the weak. He is still in the business of restoring broken hearts and broken lives. And it is still true that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for him (see Matt. 25:40).

I guess that means today I gave Jesus a banana and a sandwich.

It’s not enough. He didn’t say it’s not enough–I’m saying it’s not enough. He lets us choose our level of involvement. I want to see more. I want to feel more. I want the resources to be able to do more. Mostly, I want to share more of His heart—whatever that costs and whatever it looks like.

When I see Jesus–whether high and exalted, or in the sorrowful gaze of broken-down old woman–it messes me up. It shakes me out of the bubble of my nice tidy existence.

Yeah, I’ve got my own problems and sometimes life is hard–but it isn’t that hard. It caused me to evaluate how I’m stewarding my life—my time, my treasure, and my talents. An encounter with Jesus should cause us to evaluate those things. I’m not thrilled with the results of my evaluation.

It’s not all bad, but it certainly isn’t all good, either.

This isn’t about feeling condemned—that’s never the result of a true encounter with God—but I am feeling stirred. I’m feeling more awake and alert than I’ve been in a long time. I’m feeling greater compassion for the broken and the oppressed. I’m feeling the desire to press in more in prayer.

I’m just feeling again—period. That’s not always an easy thing, but it is a good thing.

Oh, there’s one more thing I’m feeling. I’m feeling more and more confident there really is something I can offer. I can offer my love. I can offer my love to Jesus and to those He loves. I don’t love perfectly, but I do love sincerely.

Sometimes my weak, imperfect love ends up looking like a banana and a sandwich.

But someday I hope it will look like a whole lot more.

About the author: Cindy Powell desires to live life with one simple focus: Love God and love people. Her first book, The Key to His Heart: That They May be One will be released in Fall 2012. Visit her blog, Simple Faith.

About the Author


This is a post by a guest author. To submit your own story of how you got wrecked, click here.


  1. I really enjoyed your perspective here. No condemnation for not “doing enough,” but the opportunity to “feel His heart.”

  2. Cindy, what a beautiful writer you are! I have struggled in the same way many times, wondering if I should have done more… or for silencing the stirring inside. I love how you sum up that experience, “This isn’t about feeling condemned—that’s never the result of a true encounter with God—but I am feeling stirred.”

    Thank you for sharing this story with such candor. I look forward to learning more about your upcoming book.

  3. “Today I gave Jesus a banana and a sandwich”. So powerful. Thank you for your authentic words.

  4. I love this story. Cindy is the real deal, her writing authentically reflects who she is as a person. GENUINE, SINCERE and a lover of Jesus. I am blessed to know her.

  5. Beautiful, Cindy. Love this, “This isn’t about feeling condemned—that’s never the result of a true encounter with God—but I am feeling stirred.” That’s so true. When we start seeing things more from His perspective it does stir us into action.

  6. Awesome post. I too liked I gave Jesus a banana and a sandwich.

  7. Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments! It was really fun to see my story posted here. I’m really looking forward to reading all the others!

  8. WOW! Just read… and earlier tonight we gave out bags under the Broadway Bridge in LR to almost 100 homelesss- bags of bananas, oranges, granolas bars and water… all in His Holy & Loving name! <3 <3 <3! Thx for telling your story- it touched my heart!!!

  9. I have read so many articles or reviews concerning the blogger lovers however this article is in fact a fastidious post, keep it up.


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