A heavy oppression weighted down my shoulders. I could feel the pressure even in my knees as I walked block after block. It was late, and darkness overwhelmed me, even amongst the bright flickering lights of the city that never sleeps.
My eyes caught sight of a young girl, not much older than my own twelve-year-old daughter who was tucked safely away at home with loving, Godly grandparents back in Texas, but this young girl was painted, almost comically, to be the ripe old age of a porn star. Her shorts cut so high, it revealed the curves above her thighs, and her top cut so low it left little to the imagination.
A gentleman standing in front of her, blocking any plans of her escape, passed out small cards with a phone number printed on them, as her eyes nervously jolted about at passersby. I could sense her fear as I walked nearby. Joe, my husband, pulled me closely to his chest for safety to shield me from danger as we hurried past the crowd, but still I could not get her big brown eyes out of my heart. We quickly entered the Hershey story on the Las Vegas strip, searching for souvenirs for our children, but my mind was still entangled in the thoughts of how to help the young girl.
As we exited the store, I could hear a weak voice, “You have some change? A lil bit a change?” My husband began to quickly pull me through the crowd again, but I was drawn to the voice. Who is that? My eyes glanced about, but I could see no one.
The toe of my shoe hooked onto something, and I tripped. There he is. A young African American man, sitting on the ground, cloaked in a tattered black coat to shield him from the cold wind. I attempted to step over him, but it was like my foot could not step. Joe was still tugging on my arm, trying to pull me to safety, but I lost my grip on his arm, and he suddenly disappeared in the shuffle. At first, a fear came over me. I was suddenly alone in this crowd of shifting debauchery. Lord, what am I doing here? Why in the world did you bring me to Las Vegas? I did not feel comfortable here, but this was a free trip, handed to me and my husband by my business, so we were not going to pass it up, but now I was lost, and I was petrified in fear.
Instantly, a scripture came to mind: (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
So, the realization hit me dead on: if this spirit of fear is not from God, then I know where it came from. I quickly rebuked it and whispered a prayer, “Lord, help me not to be afraid to see what you brought me here to see.”
“Change? You have some change, lady?” I heard the voice again. I looked down at the man who was staring at the ground, obviously high from inhaling some cheap substance.
“Yes, I have change.” His eyes darted up at me, and I knelt down on one knee beside him. “His name is Jesus, and He sent me right along this path today so that I could talk to you.” The man’s eyes widened in shock. “He wants you to know that HE knows right where you are. He hasn’t lost track of you. That’s why he sent me here.” Tears welled in the man’s eyes. “He sent me here to tell you He’s ready for you to come home.”
The man reached up and touched my hand. He stammered over his words, “Thank you, ma’am. You don’t know what this means to me.”
From the look in his eyes, it seemed as if I had answered a question that the man had pondered earlier that day. I simply smiled and said a quick prayer with the man. I pulled the only bill I had in my pocket, and I handed it to him. “It’s just a bill, but Jesus is the change.” The man smiled and nodded his head.
I rose to my feet to find my husband’s eyes searching frantically for me over the crowd. Joe caught sight of me and took hold of my hand. He pulled me close to him and wrapped his arms around me. “There you are!”
I quickly rubbed the tears from my eyes, and Joe and I were off again to get back to our hotel room and out of the craziness of the Las Vegas Strip nightlife. I caught one last glimpse of the man begging for change, the young girl working for change, the billboard being paraded down the street offering to sell people for change, the shows offering to reveal a sexual good time for change, the casinos offering a chance to win millions for change—it seemed everyone in Las Vegas was looking for change, and yet, I had the change inside of ME all along.
My eyes teared as my husband and I waited for the monorail. “What’s the matter?” My husband whispered. “I just can’t fix them all. I can’t help them all.”
My husband gazed down at me with his big brown eyes, knowing my tender heart. “That’s because it’s not your job. It’s your job simply to lead them to the one that can change them.” There was that word again. “Change.”
“But did you see that young girl? She was barely older than our daughter!”
“And yet her heavenly father weeps more for her than you do.” His kind eyes smiled at me. “We can’t fix our broken world, honey. It’s just not possible for one person to do that. Superman isn’t real, but our super God is. He brought you here to show you this world through His eyes, this world in which we’ve welcomed sin. You reached out to the one that God sent you to, and for the rest, He brought you here to know exactly how to pray. Some seeds we plant, some we water, some we harvest. That’s our job.” He took hold of my face, and his thumb rubbed another tear from my eye. “We may not be able to reach them all, but we are able to reach the throne of God FOR them all, and it’s His job to bring the change.”
As we were flying out of Las Vegas the next day, I saw a saying on a lady’s bag. It said, “Don’t tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big your GOD is.” A smiled slid across my face. I get it, God! Some I reach, some I can only leave in your hands. So, I may not have turned the entire city of Las Vegas into a tent revival, but I reached out to one, and the rest I’ll leave at His throne.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.