The young woman at the check-out counter stared at me with a blank look. She moved through the motions of checkout like a cold, empty robot. To say she was preoccupied would be an understatement. Her face almost throbbed with the pain in her soul. My heart ached for her as I watched her ring up my items.
It was weird, but I sensed a spirit of death hovering over her. I had the distinct impression that she had been in a struggle–that someone had tried to kill her. As I prayed under my breath, this intuition became more clear–that perhaps she had tried to killed herself!
As believers, it is important to understand moments like these. A spark of revelation about a current situation is called a gift of knowledge. It is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit available to the disciples of Jesus mentioned in I Corinthians 12. A few examples of this gift in operation are Noah building the Ark (Genesis 6:14-22); Joshua knowing about Achan’s sin (Joshua 7:10-11); Elisha knowing that Gehazi lied to Naaman (II Kings 5:20-27).
I knew this young woman needed help–more help than I could offer in a few seconds–as I was standing there waiting for her to ring up the stuff I bought. It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered to me: “Tell her Jesus loves her.” I wrestled. I fought. I dismissed it. It was like trying to stop a torrent of water from a bursting dam with a slim tree branch. The words seemed feeble and inadequate–almost foolish in light of the depth of the problem I discerned.
And I am ashamed to say, in my logical thinking, I rejected the thought altogether–even though it was inspired by the Spirit. I settled for not saying the “feeble” words with the thought that I would just pray for her later.
So I paid for everything and walked out the door, interceding all the way for God to break through to her somehow. I was almost to my car when I heard, “Lady, you forgot you bag,” and turned around in astonishment to see the woman standing in the parking lot right next to me holding my plastic sack.
I grabbed her arms and looked intently into her face and said, “Jesus loves you.” Her eyes brightened. I went on to say that I knew she only had a minute but that I felt that she was in some kind of trouble, and that the next day was Resurrection Sunday. [This indeed was Easter weekend.] God had sent her out here to the parking lot to say that He loved her, died for her, and rose again. That she had every reason to hope in her life and think upon the good things God had planned for her. I said resurrection was about life and not death. She looked at me in amazement, and I felt those words dropping into the soil of her heart. I felt like I was actually breaking curses over her life as I spoke out the life of Jesus. She said thank you and ran back in.
I learned so much that day.
1) Don’t under-estimate the power of obedience to the Lord’s promptings, even if what he asks you to do seems lame.
2) Don’t try to figure out rationally what the Holy Spirit is asking you to do. If you do, you may not follow his instructions.
3) God is gracious if we disobey and gives us another chance.
4) Never under-estimate just how much God is trying to reach the lost. You may be their only word of hope that day or ever.
As I drove home, I repented for not obeying the Lord and expressing his love to this gal. Who was I to second guess the power of words spoken in obedience? My husband and I prayed for her salvation. And now when I think about this incident, I stand amazed at how God rallied the situation. He loved that gal so much that he brought her to me even when I didn’t respond immediately to His prompting. He gave me a second change to obey.
Even now, I can’t tell you the end of the story. I just know I delivered the message. I was just the messenger–the messenger that needed a second chance. One day though, heaven will tell us so much, just so much…