Loving the one in front of you.

The other day a friend and I went to walk the quaint downtown and look in antique shops after dinner forgetting that small town shops close earlier. As we walked the first three shops we passed had a sign hanging in the window of the door stating they were closed for the day. A little disappointed, I thought to myself, “But it’s still broad daylight. It’s only 6pm. Oh well, I’d probably want to be home with my family now too if I was working here.” As we came up to the next shop the door was open and the shop keeper was moving the different artifacts inside from the store front. Hopeful I looked at the door and saw the sign, “CLOSED” as my heart sank, my friend asked the woman “Are you closed?”

With soft eyes she replied, “Feel free, you can come in and look around.” As we walked inside I said to myself, “That was kind, but let’s just look quickly and leave so she can go home.” As I finished my thought she called out after us, “And take as long as you’d need. Don’t worry about it.”
A bit startled that it seemed she heard my thoughts, I turned to look at her but she was already outside gathering the next few things and my heart realized “This is special. Take your time and don’t worry about it.” Immediately the antique jewelry caught our attention and we began looking at the different rings. A few minutes later she came and began to share about the different background and interesting facts she knew about each of the pieces of the jewelry case. We chatted and laughed. I was impressed that she did not own the store, yet knew so much about all the different pieces we looked at. As we looked around for the next hour and a half, in the back and upstairs, we both ended up finding a few things to buy, meeting up at the register to ring out.

As we gathered at the register I felt the urge to pray for her. So began a simple conversation. 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

As she was ringing up my goods we began to talk about her family, specifically her children. Through conversation we learned that one of her daughters who is currently in high school has struggled for most of her life with a life threatening disease, which has already caused her to have a liver transplant and struggle with other health complications. As this woman shared her heart I could see there was not only a mother’s compassion that she would never wish this struggle upon anyone, but there was also a sympathy for the daughter as a individual and a faint wish in her voice that her daughter could be free from the suffering. I appreciated her vulnerability and then asked if we could pray for her and her daughters healing and gladly she urged us to.

In that moment God met us there with His love, unconditional & relentless. All of our faith linked together as we prayed and as We said Amen And opened our eyes I noticed she was crying. I asked what she was feeling, and she began to share how she used to attend church when she was younger and was filled with the Holy Spirit as a young person. As life got harder and busier church began to sink in the priority list. She still believed in God and prayed, but us praying for her was very encouraging. She also explained how experienced the power of the Holy Spirt tangibly while we prayed. 

So excited my heart jumped for joy! But as I think of it after the fact I realize what a divine encounter it was. I am thoroughly amazed at how God orchastrates every step of our lives and not a detail slips through His fingertips unbeknown to him. We went seeking antiques and an evening of shopping. But God sent us with the intent to touch a heart, to remind his daughter that she is precious and greatly loved by him, and that he sees every detail and heartache in her life. 

What could be if in the places we went we talked and communed with God about what he is doing in the Earth or in another’s life? How different would the world be if every person knew they were greatly loved and not forgotten? What if we never passed up a chance to let someone know that Jesus loves them? 

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