Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
My name is Ruth Strait, and I am a faithful servant to our Lord Jesus Christ. I take every opportunity I can to share the Gospel and of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
This particular day, I was waiting for another sister in Christ to finish her errands inside the local grocery store while I made myself comfortable on a chair in a patio seating area outside the store. There, also waiting, was a woman with quite a few bags of groceries and flowers. She looked to be waiting for someone as I said hello to her and asked her how she was doing. At first it was the most typical answer I have been usually getting here in New England, a short, quick “Hi. I’m fine.” After a moment or two, she started talking about the weather, again, the general and customary chit chat. Our discussions could have ended there, but I wanted to steer toward an opportunity to pursue our conversation a bit more deeply. As we continued with small talk, our discussion led to the fact that she was waiting for her driver who drove the local senior citizen van for those residents who don’t drive anymore among other topics. The more we chatted, the more I sensed that she truly not only needed someone to talk with, but really needed someone to listen to her. Her facial expressions as we talked were animated as she had made it plan she had more to say as part of our lively discussion.
Then came the moment when I asked her if she knew Jesus. Immediately, I got that look that had been all too familiar to me on this trip to New England when I posed this question. It was that glare and blank stare of pause, which for me always caused me to hold my breath for a minute in anticipation of one’s response. Would their response be one of outrage and offense to the question? Would they quickly share in my joy and love for Jesus, or would their momentarily delay bring them to a place of reckoning for a distant memory for a once forgotten love of God?
For Suzanne, her awkward hesitation quickly turned to a sad acknowledgement that while she did in fact believe in God, she confessed that she was rather angry at Him due to a family tragedy. As I listened to her telling of the story, she explained that her son-in-law had suffered from brain cancer and had recently died earlier in the year. As she recalled the difficulty, I saw that tears were welling up in her eyes and her voice began crackling. Nearing her conclusion, she raised and shook her fist in the air at God as she exclaimed, “You took my son from me!” No only was that tragic enough, she went onto to further express that her anger was compounded by the fact that this left her daughter without her husband and provider, and three small grandchildren without their father. As my eyes were locked upon her, she described her current level of unforgiveness felt against God. She then concluded how her anger and deep hurt overcame her. Slowly then she paused, seemingly exhausted from the explanation of the memory, to hang her head low in silence.
At this moment, all I could think about was how badly she needed to know and feel once again God’s love for her. I then asked her if I could pray for her and the situation. She looked at me and said “Pray? Out loud? Here? Now?” and I said, “Yes. Right here and right now if that’s okay with you.” I was so happy to hear her response that it would be okay for us to engage in prayer, so together we linked eyes once again and I began praying. As I prayed, I felt led to ask God for her comfort and peace, and for the unforgiveness within her to fade. I prayed that she would be able to cast her worries to be laid at Jesus’ feet. I prayed for God’s provision for both her and her family’s needs. When I finished praying, I asked her how she felt and if she was okay. Suzanne spoke quietly as she conveyed to me that she had never witnessed anything like what had just happened before, noting that no one had ever prayed like that for her. It was then that I thought to myself how sad it was that she had never had anyone pray for her during her time of crises. Quickly, her transport van was approaching, and Suzanne gathered her bags and we said goodbye. She thanked me with such appreciation, and I sent her on her way reminding her to always remember that God loves her. It will be my ongoing prayer for Suzanne that she will experience healing from her hurt and that she and family will know God’s presence and provision for them as they move forward without their beloved.
Today as I write and remember this encounter, I hope that this will be an encouragement for all to allow and set aside time during our busy days to allow for God space as part of our daily encounters. May we never forego or pass by the times where God opens the door to opportunity. May we stir up the courage and love within ourselves for others and to purposefully take time from our days to speak and recall His Agape love – A love and memory that can bring someone in need back to the remembrance of the Good News and of the God they once knew. I pray that for all of us – that we may continue to impact many through the simple act of prayer, and that while doing so, that others would feel His love and be encouraged by His goodness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today and with intentionality, I choose to embrace this holiday with memories of thankfulness and with the remembrance of Jesus as Emmanuel – God with us! May you and yours experience God’s best today and always.
Let us Pray . . .
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