It was my turn at the post office counter. I approached and slid my change of address forms under the plexi-glass wall between the postal worker and me.
“You need to re-do this,” and he slid the forms back to me.
“I called yesterday, and this is what I was told to do.”
“Well, whoever you spoke with told you wrong.” My face mask hid my ugly reaction.
Maybe it was his tone or because he talked so loud, but I felt self-conscious in front of the long line behind me.
“May I fill out a new form right over here, or do I need to get back in the line?”
“Yeah, sure,” and he pointed to a space.
As I moved to the left of his station, I was grumbling on the inside because of the miscommunication and the sheer inconvenience of it all. And then a couple stepped up to the space I’d just left.
“We need a change of address form, too, but we don’t have a new address yet. Can you help us?” At first, I smiled to myself, Yep, everyone here heard my dilemma. But when I quickly glanced at the couple, their sad humble faces gripped me.
“What do you mean?” the postal worker asked.
“We don’t have a new place to live yet,” the husband said a little softer.
“What? I can’t hear you,” he said louder. Everything in me wanted to step back over there. Surely, he had figured it out by now.
“We’ve been evicted.”
The postal worker gave him a form and instructed them how to complete it. While they were writing, I handed him my form and left—carrying more than when I went in there.
As I walked to my car, I was humbled by my self-centeredness. There I was, griping in my heart about inconvenience and this couple has nowhere to live. For the rest of the day, their sad faces and quiet words weighed on me.
That night I prayed more for them with Terrell, and I was surprised by a steady flow of tears and a deep yearning for this couple’s provision. I didn’t feel worried for them. This was different. I felt like maybe God was impressing upon my heart his attentiveness and love for them—and helping me sense how to intercede on their behalf to him.
Have you ever had a similar experience, where someone or their circumstance seems to stick with you?
I’ve had countless experiences like this, but my response often ends only with lingering thoughts like, “That makes me sad” or “That breaks my heart. ” This recent experience reminded me of how God can transform thoughts like these into prayer, whether it’s in the moment, for the day, or for a season. He helps us see what he wants us to see through the lens of his heart and then respond to him with words—prayer.
I think we all cross paths with hurting, sad, even desperate people who have no one who prays for them.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6.2)
Sometimes bearing someone’s burden might mean paying a bill, doing a helpful task, or meeting an immediate need. But many times God impresses our heart with an emotional pull-and-tug about someone, and it may be that he desires that we pray for them—even if we don’t know them.
I learned later that I could have completed my forms online. I groaned about that for a minute, but honestly, I am so glad I went, because of the experience God gave me there. He placed this couple in my path, to see them, to witness something of their current story, and to become an intercessor for them.
May our eyes become more open to see the people whom God places in our path—in the store aisle or check-out counter, in our office building, at our child’s school or event, or at the street corner. May we takes those minutes, and maybe more, to listen for God and respond to him on their behalf and enjoy this sweet and holy communion with our God who loves us all.
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Also, if you are a mom, dad, or know one who needs encouragement and wants to learn practical ways to rely on God in the ordinary day of parenting, I have just the thing! “Simple Steps” is my new 10ish-minute podcast. You can find in on your favorite app, or tap the link below, or go to my website teresadglenn.com.