You just never know where or when God will show up and use you for something good.
Tuesday my friend and mentor John Bradshaw and I were at Starbucks. As we talked “church stuff,” we sat at a corner table away from everyone so that we could have some privacy. Please understand, occasionally pastors need to vent, complain, cry, critique, and otherwise gripe to one another. This was one of those times. We kept our voices down and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.
All through the conversation, however, I noticed a woman glancing our way. At first, I thought she was a CPC member whose face I didn’t recognize and name I couldn’t remember (I’m terrible at names!). But she never smiled or waved or acknowledged me when we would occasionally make eye contact. So, I decided she was either a complete stranger trying to listen in on a private conversation or she was a former CPC member who didn’t like me much. 😉 In either case, I really didn’t want to talk with her.
When John and I ended our conversation we bowed in prayer. It was one of those long prayers. . . in a restaurant. . . the kind other people notice. When we finally said “Amen,” raised our heads, and opened our eyes, that woman who had been watching us was standing at our table!
I don’t know how long she had been there. I don’t know what she heard in our prayer. But the evesdropper had now invaded our space!
As we looked up at her perplexed, she said, “I’m sorry, but as you two talked I couldn’t help but hear words like ‘church’ and ‘pastor’. I really feel awkward, and I debated the whole time you were talking about whether or not I should do this, but when I saw you two praying I decided I needed to come over. . . . Would you pray for me?”
She sat down and told us about her granddaughter who was born prematurely. This grandmother had just received a phone call saying the doctors were about to remove the respirator and they didn’t know if the infant would breath on her own or not.
John and I each prayed with her. We offered to visit the family, but she declined. . . . It was obvious she wanted prayer but she didn’t want anything else we had to offer (perhaps that’s just my cynical side coming out).
In the end, she left feeling better. A seed was planted. She wasn’t ready for “church” but she was ready to reach out to God. . . . and God was already reaching out to her.
Man! Stuff like that never gets old!