Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pit Stop Pity and Prayer

By Brenda Black

I hesitated to pull into the gas station. No one was at the pump and it didn't look like this particular convenience store was frequented often. I wondered how clean or how safe it would be. But I was desperate. I needed a pit stop!

No one was at the counter and the place appeared empty. I hesitated just for a second and considered retreating back to the parking lot. Then a young woman peeked through a door frame from the far corner of the store, with a wadded towel compressed against her forehead. She dutifully welcomed me with a weary “Hello, Welcome to Casey's.” As I processed her appearance, I pressed my reason for entering and she pointed to a hallway that led to my destination.

When I returned to the main room, I was alone again, but headed to the refrigerator section to select a drink for the rest of my journey. Then, she emerged once more with said towel still pressed to said head. I asked, “Are you alright?” and she replied, “I have a terrible headache.” Though she was in pain, I was a bit relieved that she wasn't being held at gunpoint at the back of the store and had not been rapped on the noggin by some thug.

She briefly shared how often she suffers from migraines and I listened knowingly. Sometimes those awful things can be right down debilitating. I felt sorry that she had to plug on through the day in such discomfort. When I asked her name, she looked at me with wonder? I repeated my query and she answered, “Lisa.”

I called her by name and then told Lisa I was going to pray for her the entire stretch of the road through this town, at least three or four miles and that many stoplights would give me time to plead her case before the Lord. As I prayed, I began to cry, filled with empathy for a stranger I'd known for a mere minute. Not only did I beg for relief from her suffering, but I prayed that she would feel the fiery touch of God and would know it was a direct result of prayer. I asked God to soften her heart and if she knew Him, that this would bolster her faith; if she didn't, it would awaken her hunger!

I'll never know this side of heaven if Lisa's headache disappeared, but I prayed believing! And when I had poured out all of my petition and reached the edge of the city limits, I surmised that the reason for my need to pull off the main road was more about Lisa than about me.

The Apostle Paul instructed Titus in chapter 3, verse 14: “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”

I could have been insensitive and diminished her trouble or demanded better service and expected her to buck up and do her job regardless. But I didn't. I had compassion on a total stranger who was doing her best to serve me under the worst of her own circumstances. Though I couldn't take her pain away, I could pray to the One who is able and I could practice patience and kindness.

How simple, how easy it was to do good and provide for Lisa's immediate need. And how thankful I am that I learned again so much of life is not about me. It's about being God's hands and feet and providing daily necessities in unexpected ways to those in need.

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