This morning I arrived at the grocery store, and the parking lot was mostly empty. (Isn’t it fascinating how exciting it is to go to the store when you’re under a stay-at-home order?) I donned my lovely mask and gloves and ran through pouring rain to the door. An older gentleman stood outside near the door holding a tied plastic grocery bag with two hands. He smiled warmly and I smiled back. But when I realized that he could not see that I was smiling, I quickly said, “Good morning, how are you?!”
He answered, smiling broadly again, “Oh, I’m all-right. I’m here for a job interview! They told me to be here at 7am. How are you?”
“I’m fine, thanks.” (It was 8:15am). As I answered him, I noticed a sign with revised store hours. “It says the store opens at 9 now.”
To be honest, my initial reaction was frustration because I was inconvenienced and would have to return later. But as I turned to the nice man standing next to me, that dissolved. He had been standing here for over an hour, holding his bag that I think was his lunch in case he got the job today.
“I am so sorry that you’ve been waiting for so long.”
“Yeah,” he said, “but that’s alright.”
I took a couple of steps away and turned back to him, “Well, I sure do hope you get the job. You have a great smile, by the way. God bless you.”
When I got in my car, I called Terrell, and as I told him about the man I started to cry. I was frustrated about how long he had been out there and wondered if his age would stand in the way of getting the job. I prayed then for him with Terrell, and he continues to come to mind even now.
A chance meeting of minutes. This man inspired me and doesn’t know it—he extended kindness to me, a stranger, in the midst of his hard personal circumstance.
Later that day I prayed these verses over him. I hope these words strengthen you today. And maybe, pray them over someone you know—or a stranger God puts in your path.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62.6–8)