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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Loving a Stranger

Last spring I did a women's bible study over the book of Joshua. One week one of the ladies had to fill in for the woman who usually led our study. I was extremely blessed to hear this incredible story...

That very Sunday before speaking to us was when the following events occurred.
She was leaving church and on her merry way to lunch. Like me, going out to eat after a Sunday sermon is an occasion she looked forward to having. However, her husband had something else in mind. He wanted her to pick up some fried chicken. Disappointed, she tried to put on a happy face and gave into her husband wishes. Being a good, southern christian woman she put on her happy pants... You can picture her face right? It is one of those smiles where she's gritting her teeth.

Unwillingly, she dropped her husband off at the house before hopping over to the nearest grocery store. By herself she drove to the local Brookshire's for some of that good ol' fried chicken her husband's mouth was watering for. On the way she spoke out loud to God "God I know you are with me and I refuse to be in a bad mood. You have some crazy plan for my day."

What do you know, when she got there every other husband must have wanted fried chicken too! The line could have wrapped around the store. As she stepped up to the counter the lady politely told her the wait for chicken would be at least 45 minutes, "Oh joy!" she thought. At this point her day was already shot, might as well shop for groceries during the wait, and that is what she did.

One hour and a buggy full of groceries later she pushed her 'happy' self up to the checkout. While waiting in line a young man, maybe in his twenties, stood behind the lady behind her. Something about him haunted her. She had seen him once before while shopping but excused the feeling. Now he was standing in the same line. She decided to let the lady behind her go before her. Sounds crazy, already the chicken pickup had exceeded its time, what is a few more minutes! Maybe subconsciously she wanted her husband to suffer a little bit waiting for the chicken to arrive. Either way, this man was now directly behind her.

She stood silently while her groceries were being sacked waiting for the opportune moment to converse with the man. When paying for her groceries she asked for $20.00 cash back, which rarely happens, but something (or someone) told her to. Suddenly her buggy was being pushed away and she was following it out the door! Thankfully, she caught herself. After asking the young man pushing her buggy to stop she turned around and walked back up to the cashier.

"How much are his groceries?" she asked, because she only had a twenty. It ended up the young man's groceries were fifteen and some change. She handed her twenty to the cashier, turned to the man and said "God loves you", then walked away. Before he could argue or speak a word she was walking back out the door.

When walking to her vehicle she could hear the boy pushing her cart sniffling. He put the groceries in her backseat and remarked as he did that he had never seen such an act take place. Before she knew it they were both crying. Something had overcome her. As she sat in her car the young man, she had just paid groceries for, was walking to her car. Instinctively she wanted to quickly drive away, but once again stopped herself. She rolled down her window and he looked straight into her eyes "Why did you do that?" he asked tearfully.

From her heart she answered, "I felt God was telling me to and that I was to let you know, He loves you".

The man stood there silently before he finally remarked, "I was not going to be able to pay for rent this month. The money toward those groceries was part of my rent money."...she said nothing and he continued "And last night I was at my lowest point. I lost my job, and have no money, so I kneeled down and demanded to God 'If he was real to show himself to me!'. I can now see he is very real and that I am loved. Thank you."

They both looked at eachother, sobbing uncontrollably. And she prayed for him right there in the Brookshire's parking lot.

Before he walked away she asked "Oh, what is your name?"

He replied with a smile, "Joshua."

She laughed and her heart smiled, "We are doing a bible study over the book in the bible, Joshua." She continued to tell him about Joshua and what his name meant.

They both walked away that day with smiles on their face and the presence of God overwhelming them.

How neat is that every single moment, every second of her day led up to that one encounter. What if she had pouted her way into going out to eat? What if she had left when told there would be a wait for chicken? What if she had not let that woman go ahead of her in line?...Fortunately, she let God lead her that day. A random act of kindness changed a man's life that day.

Not all stories end as gloriously as this one. But if we never take the opportunity, given each and every single day, the possibility diminishes.

Who knows, that stranger could be looking for God today....

Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show kindness to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown kindness to angels without knowing it."

"Proof of Your Love" For King and Country


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