Slowing Down To See the Need
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… — 1st Peter 3:15
We are moving so fast these days with a desire for instant gratification. We want things and we want them NOW. We want fast service, instant messages, instant results because our schedules are jam-packed with things to do and places to be. When we move at such a frantic pace, we miss out on precious moments where we might be able to give hope to someone else.
One time I was shopping in the grocery store and was in a hurry to get some needed items and then get out of there as soon as possible. As I approached the line at the cash register, there was a woman in front of me, causing more waiting time. Sigh. The covers of celebrity magazines were flashing toward me for my attention, as the well-known song “Wind Beneath My Wings” was playing on the store overhead speaker. At that moment I got lost in the words of the song that was playing. “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?” and thought about Jesus and started thanking Him for being my hero and for being so good to me and for His many blessings. My heart filled with praise right there while in line. As I was praising the Lord silently, my eyes glanced over to the cashier who was also engaged with this song and was humming along to it. I observed her becoming visibly moved by the song and then watched as she, with watery eyes, grasped her necklace and kissed it, while looking upward to the ceiling. This song obviously had a special meaning to her. I felt compassion for her, and had a sense that she had experienced a profound loss. So by this time, it was my turn to check out and pay. She continued to hum along with the song and I just asked her, “Is it your son?” Her eyes turned to me and welled up with tears and she said, “No, it’s my husband. He died six months ago…that song is special…” And she couldn’t continue, and became more tearful. Here we were, with about four people behind me waiting to check out their groceries. It was an awkward moment and was as if time was standing still. I looked at the people waiting, and then looked at this hurting, grieving widow, and determined that the people behind me could say whatever they wanted, but there was something more important here that was happening. The people waiting would simply have to wait a little bit longer. So, I gently reached my hands out toward her across the store conveyor belt, which separated the two of us. She took my hands in hers and we held hands for a moment, looking at one another in a brief moment of silence. I said, “I’ll pray for you.” With tear-filled eyes, she nodded and said, “thank you.”
That’s it. Nothing dramatic. Nothing earth-shattering. It was simply a moment in time that God prepared us both for. This hurting widow needed hope in that moment. She needed to know that there was someone who cared enough to stop what they were doing to show love to her in her time of need. After taking the receipt, I left the store and went into the car and prayed for her. Had I been moving at a quicker speed, that special moment would have been totally missed. It made me wonder how many moments get missed because of not being attentive, due to the fast pace of things?
We are encouraged in Ephesians 5:15-16 to:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Life is a vapor and our time here is so brief. James 4:14 says:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
The moments are passing us by and time is precious and fleeting. Let’s be more intentional about slowing down a little so that we can be present in the moments to give hope and love to those who need it. It may be a kind word, gesture, hug, or the best gift of all…Jesus Christ, the hope giver.
(c) 2018 ELICIA ROY for writing and photographic image. All rights reserved.