"I Will Meet You There"
August 14, 2019
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.”― Rumi
I know so many of you have been going through intense seasons of transition, warfare, change and uncertainty. The ground beneath can seem so shaky sometimes during these times, even when we know we are standing on the Rock of our Salvation, the clouds of the oncoming storms so dark…even when we know we are seated with Christ in Heavenly Places. Even when we know God will do it again, the fight can sometimes wane exhausting and draining. I know. Jesus knows. Jesus had Gethsemane and I’ve been there in the moments when even prayer didn’t seem to comfort my soul. David knew when he wrote, “In the day of my trouble I [desperately] sought the Lord. In the night my hand was stretched out [in prayer] without ceasing, but my soul refused to be comforted.” (Psalm 77:2).
Last Saturday I woke up early in the morning to pray, with millions of apparently urgent issues tugging at my soul and swirling in my mind, no solutions in sight and three or four apparent storms looming at every horizon. And, the only place refuge and relief, the company of Jesus. I was crying and praying in the only way I could at the time, and at the end of it all, it seemed there were no answers or clarity or breakthrough, not even a peace be still to the storm I was carrying inside. Then, finally, God spoke, a still small voice, but clear as day, “Between 6:30pm and 7:00pm I want you to go out for a walk. Don’t take anything except your keys. Go where I tell you to go and I will meet you there. I have someone I want you to minister to.”
No answers about my own apparent urgent issues, but there was that. When the time came, I got ready and headed out of my house. Not with the best attitude in all honestly. Maybe a little more like Jonah’s when his leafy plant died...Still, I put my red converse on and walked out, feeling God telling me to walk to our neighborhood grocery store. “I have someone there I want you to meet. Go inside the store and go to the cereal aisle. Look for the place where the prices end in 79 cents.” He said. Well, I began to wonder at this point if this was all in my head. “I guess I will find out when I get there and see the .79 part of the cereal aisle…or not…” I thought to myself as I walked to the cereal aisle taking in all the cold air at the store after the long hot summer walk to the store, searching for that 79 cent section.
I looked through the whole length of the aisle and was about to give up when, to my shock, I saw at the end of the aisle a whole section where all products labeled ‘.79’ beneath a big sign reading “All Coconut Dream, Almond Breeze, and Blue Diamond products 35% off!” My eyes widened. For the first time the whole day my bad attitude began to melt off. I said, “God, what do I do now?”
"Just stand there looking at the prices until I tell you to go.” He said, so I stood curiously, slowly beginning to realize God was up to something.
After a little while, a man in his early thirties came up behind me. He looked at the bread across from the cereals and abruptly turned and kept looking in my direction. I tried to move thinking maybe I was blocking him, but when I turned to move out of the way, he quickly turned back to look at the bread. “Is this the person you want me to meet God?” I said. But God just said, “Trust me. Just stand there looking at the prices until I tell you to go. Just stay there.” I saw through my peripheral vision the man kept looking over in my direction a few more times then came forward toward me, quickly looked in front of me and then darted out of the aisle.
I said, “OK. Now what God?” And God said, “Now go back out and I will show you where to go.”
Well, I walked out of the store not at all understanding the plan, when something caught my eye. A few feet away from the entrance in the parking lot was something that wasn’t there when I had passed there earlier. It was a shopping cart with a big blue tarp rolled up to contain the mountain of an elderly lady’s possessions inside it. I felt God telling me to walk over there. I began to get nervous because it was getting so dark to walk back home, but God said, “Go meet her. It’s OK.”
I walked over and, under the rolled up tarp, sitting on a piece of sidewalk was an elderly lady in her 80s wearing a large heavy wool sweater over a light cotton dress. I instantly recognized her from earlier that day.
Earlier that day we had gone out early in the morning to run errands with visiting family all morning long. At one of our stops not far from the grocery store this very same lady had caught my eye. It was so hot out and she was out there with her full shopping cart with the big blue tarp roll-up wearing this heavy sweater on her. It was an unusually disappointing morning for us, with bad reports coming at us from apparently all sides, and when I realized I had forgotten even my purse at home that I could buy her a meal or do something for her, I had felt so powerless. I prayed for her. I said, “God please send her someone to show your love to her. To give her water to drink at least.” I was so sorrowed for some reason over her. I cried on the way home under my sunglasses and remembered her, sorrowed I couldn’t do anything to fix my own situations or even hers. I remembered her, because I had never seen her around in our neighborhood before.
And now, here she was again under the blue tarp, which had on it a sticker reading “Blue Diamond”.
“Ask her if you can pray for her.” God urged.
"Could I pray for you?" I said timidly.
She didn’t have teeth, but her face was beautiful I thought. She looked up at me without really looking but nodded her head ‘yes’.
I wished I had more to give her, but God had told me not to take anything but my keys, so here I was with the only thing I had to give her, my prayer.
I bent down and held her hand and, in a day in my life where I felt like I had run out of everything even my words, I had to rely on the Spirit to give me words to pray for her. So I held her hand in mine and prayed and she sat there, sort of looking off in the distance as I cradled her hand in mine. I finally finished praying and God said, “Don’t say anything else just hold her hand.” And, as I held her hand in mine and squeezed it and patted it, for the first time there was a light in her eyes I didn’t see before. She patted my hand back and got up and began to push her cart away toward another younger woman who was sitting some distance from us. I went home wondering the meaning of all this and how this had been God's answer to my prayer over all the situations that had been weighing on me, but not really understanding how deep the work of His Hand really goes. Till today.
Earlier today, I went to the store to pick up some groceries. On the way in a man that was coming out looked at me as I was walking in and followed me back into the store.
"Excuse me!” he said in a thick accent. “Where you here Saturday?"
“Saturday?” I said confused
I had already forgotten the Saturday adventure and then I remembered, yes, I had been there standing at the cereal aisle on Saturday…Could this be the cereal aisle man? I couldn’t remember him, because I never fully looked at his face, but this must be him, I thought.
He said, “You had a black shirt that said ‘fait’ in the back and ‘bien’ in the front. You see, I am French.”
I said “Oh yes, that is just the brand name ‘Madewell’ in French.”
His eyes sparkled with excitement as he began to explain to me, “I know, ‘Bien fait’/’made well’. I had prayed to God to heal me that morning and I thought there is no answer, but I opened up my Bible after praying and it was John 5:6 ‘When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, Do you want to be made well?’”
He paused thoughtfully and continued quietly, “I want to be made well, but have such a hard time believing it. So I went to the store but I said, ‘God give me a sign that this is for me. Give me a sign that even I can be made well.' And, I walked in to get some bread and when I turned around there you are standing there and in my native language I see that the back of your shirt is says ‘fait’/’made’. I couldn’t believe it so I had make sure and check at the front of your shirt just to see if maybe…and it did..it said ‘bien’/’well’.! “Made well”! That was my sign from God! I am made well!!!”
I don't know what you are going through today, but I want to encourage you that whatever it is, in the midst of the chaos, the discouragement, the impossibilities, God will meet you there. Maybe some of you are in the midst of storms that you don’t know if you are going to be able to weather. Maybe you are going through storms that will not be stilled and you don’t know how you will make it through them. I know. David knew. Jesus knows most of all. He cares. He loves you. Things are never too far gone for His Powerful Hand. The same Potter’s Hand that builds you up as a vessel for His Glory, who holds you by the right hand and says ‘Fear not! I will help you!’, is the same Hand that can and will make the impossibly broken brand new. It's His Promise. At the end of ourselves, He will always meet us there. This is our reality as Children of the Most High God. Catch the Wind of God's Spirit, and every day will be an adventure that will take your breath away, every impossible problem the beginning of a miracle and a new beginning. It’s not always so apparent in the moment, but sometimes looking back I am so amazed at all the ways in which, in the midst of our darkest and lowest, when we don’t know which way is up and which is down and we've come to the end of ourselves, God will always meet us there in the most beautifully unexpected of ways.
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