I met an elderly lady named Terry at a local storage unit.
A small 6 x 10 unit with a half a dozen pieces of mismatched furniture stacked from wall to wall.
An antique table her husband had received from his great, great grandpa.
An antique cabinet they'd had together for decades. All memories of times with her husband. The husband who passed away just over a year ago.
We spent the first 10-15 minutes working out a sales price, each piece worth more to her, for what it was than what it will be to the next buyer. As a follower of Jesus, I felt the prodding in my heart to pray for her.
Of course, I didn't know if she was a praying woman, let alone if she followed Jesus. Still, the prodding continued.
I wrote her a check, loaded her furniture into our truck and prepared to leave. There were a couple of leftover items. I helped her get those into her car. That's when I finally gave in and asked the question - "Are you a praying woman?"
The question caught her off guard so I repeated it while making the universal hand sign for prayer. Placing my hands together I asked if she prays, her answer "Yes".
Next, I asked if I could pray with her for peace since she lost her husband. That's when she burst into tears. It was a short prayer, a prayer for peace which I knew would be answered because He is the Prince of Peace. The short prayer was followed by what seemed like a much longer hug.
I told her Jesus wanted her to know He saw her, loved her and that He was with her. Through the tears, she told me how hard it is to sell "their things" now that her husband is gone and how she had been praying all the way over that Jesus would be with her.
I told her how I'd lost my mom a few years ago and that I know it's hard. Then I told her it sounds like Jesus heard her and wanted her to know that He's with her. That's when we had our second hug. A longer one, a tighter one and thanks to the tears a wetter one too.
Two hugs. A great reminder that He spread out both of His arms, on the cross, to say "I love you" to the whole world; the good, the bad and ugly of us all.
I left the storage unit with half a truck of furniture and an overflowing heart. So filled with thankfulness for the opportunity to pass His love to one of His daughters.
Some people ask "where was God when I needed Him?". The truth is He was likely prodding someone next to you to reach out with His love, comfort, and encouragement. In the hustle and bustle, it's easier to ignore the prodding than to respond to it. Today I made the right choice and now Terry knows Jesus heard her and is with her.
The truth about Terry… there are more hurting people just like her around us every day. If we open our hearts and take action on His prodding they won't ever have to ask "Where was God when I needed him?" - because He'll show up and tangibly love them through each of us.
We look forward to getting to Austin, TX, and wrapping God's arms around those in need of a real life hug from their heavenly Father.