This has been a hard week. I have had the privilege of walking with many different friends through unexpected struggles in their lives. Encountering sudden loss and grief is never easy and has weighed heavy on my heart this week. I struggle with how to respond as a good friend, knowing that usually all I can offer is prayers and love, but not feeling that it is enough of a response.
So I pray, I talk with my friends, and I try to rest in God's goodness for them (and I offer them food!).
But yesterday, I just had a heavy heart. For most of the day.
In the early evening, I found myself at Meijers all by myself to do our bi-weekly grocery shopping. And it was going really well. It seemed like everything on my list was on sale. Seriously. I jokingly asked God if he went before me and put sale tags on everything that I needed to buy that week.
And then I was in the spice aisle trying to figure out which Paprika to bu (Why did the Organic Paprika look so dull? Was it a different variety?) when I was approached by a tall, dark stranger. He had a rectangular face and a long forehead. He had really white skin and very dark hair and buggy eyes. He must have been in his late teens or early 20's. I figured he was going to ask me some ingredient question (that seems to happen a bit).
Instead, he said, looking straight into my eyes, "Excuse me. I just have this pressing on my heart to tell you that the Lord loves you."
I was floored. Shocked. Incredibly surprised. Flabbergasted. Remarkably blessed.
I thanked him deeply. He had no clue that he just made my day, actually my entire week.
I wished him a great day and we both went on our way shopping. I encountered him a couple other times in other rows (as it often happens at Meijers) and we gave each other warm smiles and kind greetings.
Now, the skeptic in me would try to write this off as a really weird guy who had some radical agenda and was trying to save my soul. But I observed him and his friend and I didn't see them talking to anyone else.
And further, I have learned how to be open to God's leading in my life. And God wanted me to know something. He used this unusual and unexpected way to drill it home to me. He LOVES me. The Lord, Yaweh, Creator God, Healer, Protector, All-Sufficient One. This God, he loves me.
So now I don't really care what his agenda was or how it came to be that buggy-eyed guy actually spoke to me. But I am confident that God used that moment to wrap his arms around me and encourage me, to help me to press on and keep doing what I am doing.
Thanks buggy-eyed guy. Thanks for listening to God's voice. Thanks for sharing it with me.