It’s been a different summer for our family. Normally, we squeeze in a beach trip. This year, we spent most of those sultry days at the hospital caring for my sweet mother-in-law as she faces the final stages of Alzheimer’s. We needed to stay close, so those sandy-toed walks were out of the question.
But in the eleventh hour at summer’s end, a door cracked open! Planning? No time for that! With just two days at our disposal, we flung belongings into the car and put the pedal down, racing to arrive in time for a seaside sunset.
Finally, the saltwater scent notified us it was time to stop for last-minute essentials. We divided our list, hustled into the store, and scrammed in opposite directions, clock ticking. In record time, we regrouped at the registers. (“We’ve got this!”) As my family finished checkout, I darted to the ladies’ room.
I fastened the stall, then heard someone murmur, “Do you work here?” After moments of silence, she inquired again. I realized she was speaking to me. I politely replied, “No ma’am, I don’t.” With visions of sunsets dancing in my head, I washed my hands and skedaddled toward the exit…until an unexpected sound snatched me back, halting my hurry.
The lady in the stall began declaring God’s Greatness. Honestly, it startled me at first. Here? In the ladies’ room? Then she sweetly sang, “My Hallelujah belongs to You.” It wasn’t showy. It was desperate.
We were not alone. My eyes met those of the other witnesses who burst out laughing. While they jeered, I approached the stall. “Ma’am, are you ok?” I asked. “Do you need help?” Though I could not see her tears, I heard them. She explained, “I’ve been stuck in this stall for hours. I had an accident and sullied my clothes. I spent all my money on groceries. I don’t know what to do.”
I rushed out and conveyed the situation to an employee. Her response? “You see it all here! Don’t worry about it.” When she realized I wasn’t leaving, she followed me in and cross-examined the stranded woman. My daughter and I received the lady’s sizes then began our search through the store.
When the employee begrudgingly lifted our gifts over the stall, that sweet lady began singing again, “My Hallelujah belongs to You!” I knew at that moment, she belonged to me. I didn’t know her name, but I knew her spirit. I spoke into this lover of God and assured her that He hears her every prayer and tenderly responds.
The employee bailed; the bystanders continued to sneer. They ALL failed to realize . . . this is THEIR story. It’s MY story, and YOURS, too. None of us are immune.
Our culture canonizes “self-sufficiency,” but life invariably exposes that lie. We enter this world and leave this world completely helpless to help ourselves. Even when we appear to have the world by its tail, we know in our deepest parts that life is bigger than us.
No matter who we are, how much wealth we accumulate, or how much power we wield, when we are left to ourselves, life is too much to handle. We suffer in silence trying to conceal our fragility from everyone (including ourselves).
But wait! Don’t get lost there. The good news is, God never intended to leave us to ourselves! He knew that without Him, life would swallow us up; but with Him, we would conquer the very things that seek to conquer us. “For My Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
When life exposes our fragileness, Abba longs to reveal His faithfulness.
He won’t leave you in a desperate place! I beg you, Friend, don’t leave Him! You need Him. He wants you. In Him, you overcome!
(By the way, I missed that sunset. But I would have missed so much more had I not lingered where God lingered.)
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv