Last night, Lisa, Lydia and I made our way to the Realm to stop in for a few minutes and visit with the college group. I had not been to Tuesday night since a few weeks prior to Lydia's birth and had only been a couple of times since I joined the Pastor Search Committee last July. I wasn't sure who would be there, but I knew I wanted to visit for a bit.
We went downstairs to see Bruce in his office. As I came to his door, I was greeted by a student whom I know is absolutely nuts about babies and I knew that she would be thrilled to see Lydia. This student became incredibly excited and then teared up and informed me that her aunt had passed away in the morning. She then stated that seeing Lydia was exactly what she needed and that the timing was perfect. I thought to myself: She's right, it is perfect timing and that is of God.
After we spent a half hour with the students passing Lydia around, we left as they began their message time. We talked on the way home about our time with the college students and we were reflecting on how God is working in not only our lives, but our friends and church's as well. As I was about to turn onto our street Lisa asked me if I saw a woman by the side of the road that we had just passed. I hadn't, but I honestly wasn't paying too much attention to what was happening on the shoulder of the dark street. Besides, I wouldn't have expected to see anyone outside as it was in the low 20s. I asked if she wanted to turn around to see if this person needed help, all the while knowing what she would say and what I wanted to do. So I turned off into a parking lot, backtracked to the point where Lisa had seen this person and pulled to a stop in a gas station parking lot about 15 feet away from the woman.
Lisa hopped out to see if we could help in any way, and I sat behind the wheel praying that God would allow us to bless this lady in some way. I even told Lydia, who was asleep in her car seat in the back, that we might be having a visitor spend the night tonight with us. I was prepared to offer this woman a hot meal, a warm bed and a king word and I knew that Lisa wouldn't hesitate to do the same. Lisa spoke briefly to the woman who was obviously distressed about something and crying. She had been rolling a suitcase behind her when we came upon her and as Lisa turned back to the car, the woman followed suit.
I hopped out of the car, popped the trunk and placed her suitcase inside. She thanked me several times and stated that she was incredibly embarrassed. I assured her that it was our pleasure and that she had nothing to be ashamed of. Lisa offered her the front seat but stated that she was more than welcome to sit next to our little baby. The lady climbed into the back seat. By the time I had entered the car she was already talking about Lydia and Lisa was introducing them. Through tears the woman told us she was on her way home and that she lived just down the street. I proceeded to head in that direction.
As I drove this woman could not stop crying and answered several phone calls through her tears. Each conversation was short, with her stating that she would return the call after she arrived home in a few minutes. She pointed the way and I drove about a mile down the road to where we ended up in her driveway. She thanked us again for our kindness and I asked if there was anything else we could do for her. After she declined further assistance I asked if we could pray with her real quick. She stated that she would like that. I grabbed her hand as Lisa placed one on her shoulder and asked her what her name was.
I prayed a quick prayer for her and asked that God would comfort her and provide her with rest and I thanked God for allowing Lisa and I to help her. It wasn't a long prayer and it didn't need to be. As we exited the vehicle, one of this lady's friends pulled up and hopped out, thanking us for picking her friend up. She then turned to her friend and said something along the lines of "You haven't exactly had a great welcome home have you?". We were both thanked again as the two made their way into the dark house.
Lisa and I made the 3 minute drive home beginning a conversation about how much God has blessed us with so much and allowed us to be a part of people's lives in a special way. We have no idea where this lady was coming from or why she was walking along a dark road out in the cold. She was well-dressed and lived in a brand new villa in a nice neighborhood, yet here she was totally exposed to the elements and the world while being heartbroken and alone. For 5 minutes Lisa and I were allowed to be a blessing to her and provide for her.
The night was an amazing display of God's perfect timing and perfect provision.
Please pray for the people who have lost family members and for the people who have lost hope.
I find myself, even now, praying for this woman, Karen, and would ask that you do the same.