She was late with a nerve to be disruptive! These were all my initial thoughts and impression of the the stranger that walked into my weekly women’s prayer group. Those in attendance were mostly the regulars. I think we were all taken aback by the presence of this very unique visitor.
As she signed in talking loudly the entire time, I felt the energy in the room shift in the same direction as my thoughts. What in the world? Who is she? Don’t she know better? Were again some of the extended thoughts obviously formulated by my flesh.
One of the usual attendees left her seat to try and settle things down. As this unlikely guest took a seat in the back, she continued to make bosturious but Godly responses of Amen’s, Hallalujah’s and Praise God’s at every other statement our Pastor uttered.
It was obvious to me that going at this rate would interrupt the spiritual flow of the meeting. The nuisance may even prevent Pastor from being able to effectively minister. I was growing majorly uncomfortable and increasingly annoyed. Again in my flesh…..
Then, a still small voice said “She is my child, just as you are, comfort her and make her feel welcomed.”
I knew it was The Lord because I felt resistance deep within. I sat there a few more moments and didn’t move.
Then a flash back came to my mind. I attended a church over the summer and in the middle of the service a mentally disturbed man came in off the street. He began praising God and cheering on the pastor to preach. The pastor stopped and ordered two ushers to remove the man from the building. I was completely offended by the behavior of the believers!
Didn’t Jesus minister to the sick, hang around with the unjust, raise the dead and heal the lame? Absolutely! He welcomed them all while religious observers stared, criticized and judged. I couldn’t get the look on the man’s face out of my mind for months thereafter. His look of pain and rejection was so sad and intense. No one tried to minister to him first before removing him. The effort was not even attempted.
At that moment I wondered what Jesus would do with this woman in our midst if He were here in the flesh. The still small voice returned at that thought and said, “love on her”. I don’t like to be used (By means of being taken advantage of by humans), but if I must, let it be by the direction, unction and instruction of Christ Jesus!
Without further hesitation, I left my seat and walked to her. I threw my arms around her neck. I instantly smell an overwhelming aroma of alcohol mixed with cigarettes and perfume. I proceeded to whisper in her ear that we are so glad that she’s here and want her to stay. She began to weep and I asked if she wanted me to sit with her. She simply lowered her head and shrugged her shoulders. I knew at that moment that I must stay with her and I did.
I kept my arm wrapped around her shoulder most of the time and gave her gentle squeezes or pats when she became too loud. She got the hints and apologized after each one. She cried the entire stay and often whispered “Yahweh, I love you!”
Although nauseously flooded by her mixed aroma, God kept me. I was even more overwhelmed with her heart. It was full of praise and genuine adoration for Christ. She may be struggling with alcoholism but it was clear to me that she loved, knew and depended on the same God as I.
I missed the essence of the message that night as I prayed for this stranger. By the end of the night I was completely drained but felt honored to have fellowshipped with this sister and used by my Heavenly Father.
Have you ever had an encounter similar to this one?
What did you do?
What did others around you do?
As believers, we must never reach a point where we forget what God has delivered us from. None of us have arrived! Without judgement, accusations, labels, or sneers, I couldn’t forget that I was once this woman in some shape, form or fashion. There are ministry opportunities all around us and God uses us to show His love to those in need.
Represent and Let Him Use You!
Until next time, Happy Sunday!