Monday, July 9, 2007

Today it will be overcast, partly cloudy and...

I'm in South Texas. South Padre Island to be precise. This is actually the first vacation my family has been on since we moved to Orlando to plant The Well back in November of 2005. It's incredibly beautiful here and I will make sure that I post a number of photos and stories about the trip all next week. Today however, I wanted to write about something a little more somber that happened.

We stopped off at the Walmart Superstore just outside of the Island (grocery store prices on the Island require a mortgage) to do some grocery shopping for the week, and while we were waiting for an attendant at the Deli, I noticed a young woman also waiting to be attended to. She was attractive and looked like she might be a tourist too. These weren't the things that struck me most though. What caught my attention was the fact that she was crying. When she caught my eye, she wiped her tears and attempted to look as if everything was okay, but her red cheeks, puffy eyes and down-turned lips made it a losing effort.

In this sea of festive humanity, the majority of whom appeared to be enjoying some kind of vacation, it seemed rather incongruous to find someone looking so dejected and unhappy. I walked up to her and asked her if everything was okay. At first she said she was fine, but again the uncooperative tears betrayed her as they freely poured down her red cheeks. I gently insisted that she tell me what was going on, and she finally said, "I'm just really sad." When I prodded for more information she told me that her husband had decided to file for a divorce, and their two little daughters (two and a half and five years old) were with him this week. She further intimated that she didn't want the divorce but was at a loss for how to stop it.

Then I did something "stupid"! I asked her if I could pray for her. Imagine her response. Instead of deciding that I was some sort of kooky weirdo, she actually began to sob even harder, and thanked me for being willing to pray with her when I didn't even know her. I called my wife over and quickly explained what was going on, and right there in church...I mean in Walmart, we prayed with this precious lady and asked God to do a miracle in her marriage and in her husbands heart. We prayed for her two daughters, and we prayed for God's peace to overwhelm and comfort her. She was utterly amazed that two complete strangers would be that interested in her. My wife gave her a big hug and we gave her our contact information so that she could call and share the good news with us when it all works out well.

Too many of us think that our Christian witness is worn only on Sundays, in a "church" setting, and only with people that we know. I don't know what the final story will be of her impending divorce. I do however know this; she found out yesterday (if she had ever wondered in the past), that beyond a shadow of doubt, God loves her deeply. She discovered that His love for her runs deep enough that He was willing to send two perfect strangers all the way to South Padre Island, to encourage and comfort her in the midst of what might possibly be her darkest storm yet. What's the weather like in your neighborhood? Is there someone that needs a little sunshine in their lives that you might be a God-sent answer for? By the way, what's that glow radiating out of you, could it be the calm for someone elses storm?


Hope Clark said...

Oh I love these moments when God gives us an opportunity to demonstrate Him to someone else! Please let us know if you hear from her.