“Hey, that’s a great place you’re gonna love it!”
We nodded and gave a faint (hungry) wave back.
“I just had the little dumplings on the left side of the counter, but the salad with the nuts is great too,” the voice continued. We paused at the deli door. “Everything is so good there… sorry for rambling, my mom just died, but you can’t go wrong at this place. It’s the best.”
We started towards the curb as she continued recommending menu items.
“I’m in culinary school here, and this place is so…”
Stepping towards her, I interrupted, “Excuse me, did you just say your mom died?”
“Yes mam, this morning,” she said, as we inched our way to her car door and listened as her story unfolded.
Her name was Keisha and her mom, who’d recently been diagnosed with cancer, had been rushed to the hospital that morning. They talked and prayed on the phone together and Keisha told her mom she’d be on a plane that afternoon to come see her. But another call came just a few hours later. Her mom had slipped into a coma and died.
The sun was beating down hard on Paulette and me as we told Keisha how sorry we were for her loss. She slipped out of her car and continued with her tragic story. Her fiancé was just back from Iraq, mending from a gunshot wound, and they’d planned to travel to her mom’s for Thanksgiving so her mom and family could meet him.
Understanding how loss felt, I put my arm around her, and the next second she fell sobbing into both of our arms. “I believe in Jesus and go to church but the devil is trying to destroy me. But he’s not gonna get the victory,” she declared. “I’m not going to let him win!”
Now that we were holding her, I could smell something stale, like old whisky on her t-shirt, and she was out of it with grief and whatever she’d used to numb the pain in her life. But the Lord had us there to stand with her in her grief and comfort her breaking heart. It seemed surreal.
We asked if we could pray for her and she said, “Yes. Yes, please.”
So there we stood, in a parking lot praying for Keisha her and her whole family. We thanked God for sparing her fiancé’s life and identified with her great loss. We shared our faith and assured her that God totally loved her – and wanted all of her heart to be His. It was somehow clear she’d been dabbling on the dark side and that a battle was going on for her soul, perhaps for a very long time.
It was a sensitive moment. Not a time to preach or correct. But her heart was soft and God gave us the words to gently remind her that Jesus wanted to be her only one – and to let everything else, not of Him, go. And she agreed and fought for herself with us in prayer.
“Something told me you ladies were safe,” she said, lifting her head. “That’s why I kept calling out to you, trying to get your attention.” She started thanking the Lord for sending us to her. “It’s exactly what I needed,” she said. “Thank you Jesus!”
About 40 minutes later we said goodbye. I thought about how easy it would have been to totally ignore Keisha and plow forward into the deli. To hear the growl of our stomachs instead of hearing those few sad words, tucked inside the cheerful-sounding voice of a stranger. Instead of the hearing the Holy Spirit.
It’s so easy to miss the moment. To miss God. I’ve missed Him before, more than I could ever possibly know. But not last week. God wanted to touch Keisha last week and we didn’t let Him down. It felt really good to know we played a small, but strategic part, in a painful part of someone else's journey.
|Internationally known author, minister and songwriter Melody Green has traveled to over 30 nations to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Her best selling book, “No Compromise. The Life Story of Keith Green” has been translated into numerous languages. This article was reprinted by permission from Last Days Ministries’ November e-letter. For more information on Melody and her prolific ministry materials, visit http://www.MelodyGreen.com |