“God among us,” a new post written by my friend Lucky Otter, is beautiful and uplifting. She talks about how God often works through random acts of kindness to encourage and bless us when we need it most, sometimes using total strangers to do it.
Lucky says in her post that it is “interesting how often God appears through people standing on line at the store.” That statement reminded me of something that happened 40 years ago, when I was a young woman living in Houston, Texas.
The first part of 1977 was one of the worst times in my entire life. My two children, who were 5 and 2 years old at the time, had been taken out of the country by my estranged, abusive husband. Every moment without my babies felt like hell on earth. Back in those days, law enforcement would not get involved in what they called a “domestic matter.” I had gone to the police, the District Attorney, and the FBI, all to no avail.
One day during this time, I walked into a small convenience store to pay for some gas to put in my car. Emotionally, I felt like I had reached the end of my endurance. I was just putting one foot in front of the other, with no idea of what to do next. Coming from an abusive scapegoating family, I had no one to help me, I was completely on my own. I could not even turn to God, because I had stopped believing in Him when I was 12 years old, after my minister father had come so close to murdering my mother that I had thought she was dead.
There was a long line in the little store, and only one open cash register. So I got in line behind a young African-American man and waited my turn to pay, shuffling forward a few steps at a time as the line inched its way toward the cashier.
The man standing directly in front of me, had his back to me the whole time. He had not seen me walk into the store, I was sure of that. So he could not tell, by looking at my face and my body language, how desperate I was feeling. But suddenly, this young man turned around and said, “Do you know how much Jesus loves you?”
Then, with people all around us, he spent the next several minutes telling me how our Creator God had sent His only begotten Son into the world to save the world from sin, and that Jesus would have left the glories of heaven and come here to earth to suffer and die on the cross for Me Only, if I had been the only one who needed salvation — because Jesus loves me that much!
“And there isn’t any good thing that the Lord won’t do for you,” he said. “All you have to do is call on the name of Jesus the Messiah and ask Him to lead you!” Then the young man turned around again, moved up in the line, paid for his purchases, and left the store.
I had not said one word, the whole time. All I had done was stare at the young man in wonder. His face and his eyes were literally glowing with a beautiful light! LOVE was shining all over his face!
If that young man had not turned around and said what he did that long ago day in Houston, I might not have survived that night. That’s how miserable, hopeless, and utterly desperate I had felt when I walked into the store. But his words brought me back from the edge of the dark abyss. Although it would be some time before I began to believe that the things he had said might be true, God used a total stranger, “standing on line at the store,” to turn my life around!
(Comments are closed here, please visit Lucky’s blog. Thank you for stopping by, and God bless.)
God is everywhere, but sometimes it seems like he’s nowhere in the universe when we’re depressed or in emotional or physical pain.
You don’t have to go to church or read the Bible to find God. God doesn’t live on a lofty cloud always passing harsh judgment on us underlings far below on this little planet. He isn’t a being we can only know after we die, or only in religious settings. He can’t always be found in that hellfire and brimstone preacher in the megachurch on the outskirts of town, and He certainly isn’t present in those television evangelists who prey on the poor and gullible by insisting you make a large donation to their organization in exchange for salvation.
In 1977, there was a little movie called “Oh, God” starring John Denver as an assistant grocery store manager, who was searching for meaning in his life…
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