”I’ve done too many bad things – God wouldn’t have me, would he?”

These words were said to me by a taxi-driver on Christmas Eve 2007, and I have no idea why I’m thinking about them now – but thinking about them I am. The interior of his taxi was decorated with small, multi-coloured lights and his background music was ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. When I told him I liked the music and the lights, he explained that he was trying to cheer himself up because he would be spending Christmas alone. His wife had left him. ‘So I suppose I’ll just have to talk to the fish.’ My inner prayer was, ‘Lord, please help me.I don’t know what to say to this man.I wish I’d gone on the bus. What can I say to this man? I can’t just ignore him.’ Moments later some words came into my mind and I felt uncertain about voicing them, but I did anyway, fully prepared to apologize if this man didn’t like what he heard. ‘Do you ever talk to God?’ That was when he said the words that form the title of this piece. Oh yes, God would ‘have’ him, and would welcome him with open arms. The angels would rejoice. Dare I ask this man if he felt that he could say to God what he had just said to me? I asked him. Time was running out and this taxi-driver was driving down the road where I lived. He became thoughtful, but he didn’t answer my question. So I told him I would pray for him on Christmas Day when he was talking to the fish, and that God would hear every word he said to the fish, anyway! I lost track of the number of times this man said to me, ‘Bless you!’ And I did feel really blessed. Meeting that taxi-driver was a wonderful Christmas gift to me. I don’t know what became of him. I remembered him in my prayers for a while and I remember him again now. I know too many people who think they are not good enough to go to church, too many people who think God wouldn’t ‘have’ them. Twenty-two years ago I thought I was not good enough to go to church, not good enough to be in the presence of God. ‘There is joy in the presence of angels over one sinner who repents.’ Luke 15:10

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