” I glanced at the woman who was waiting and was going to make a silly comment when I saw that her eyes were red and her face was flushed, like she had been crying. “Doug Pacheco
I was once on my way to a meeting, in fact, I think I was going to church. It was a pretty early on a Sunday morning and I was stopping at a supermarket to get some kind of supply we needed and we were running behind schedule so I hurried in to find what I needed and then dash out to get to where we were going.
When I entered the store it was early, maybe 7 am.
As I walked into the store, it seemed empty, aside from the woman in the check-out lane, (this was before you could do “self-check- out”, there didn’t seem to be any one but this one customer checking out.) I always try to notice the “lay of the land” when I walk into a place and on this morning there was just bad elevator music and maybe a handful of people doing their shopping. I think I was irritated that I was late and I was trying to hurry.
I noticed the employee at the cash register was trying to scan a greeting card as I walked by her but I heard her complaining as I was within earshot, “I don’t know why this card won’t scan!” I just shrugged it off and went to get the things I’d come for because I figured it didn’t concern me so I forgot about it. Allow me to say for the record, that it is my personal belief and my personality to think that EVERYTHING concerns me.
It’s not that I think I am all that and a bag of chips; RATHER, I have learned throughout my life, that if I saw it, heard it or in anyway experienced something with my five senses, that I experienced it for a reason. Sometimes that’s been good, many times it has not been so good.
I took a few minutes to make sure I had made the best buy, compared prices with a couple of other things and headed for check out. To my surprise that employee was STILL trying to scan the card. I took my place in line behind the woman customer who was patiently waiting for the card to finally scan. Evidently she had gone back to the greeting card section to select another identical card and IT would not scan.
As I said earlier I was irritated for being late and this didn’t help. I wondered why this woman had gotten this dumb card that wouldn’t scan. “This is just inconvenient!” I said in my little self-centered head. I kept fuming until I began to realize this was just too strange that the card would not scan into the register. I wondered why the cashier didn’t just type in the bar code number. I glanced at the woman who was waiting and was going to make a silly comment when I saw that her eyes were red and her face was flushed, like she had been crying. Isn’t it amazing how insensitive we become when we are focused entirely on ourselves?
I then noticed she was trying to buy a sympathy card and I thought, “Oh no, someone close to her has died.” I have learned over time that, at least with me, God only gives me enough information to work with an no more. This is because I tend to move too quickly and impulsively if He gives me more information. I knew what I had to do, but I turned and looked behind me to see that at least 5 other people were now in line behind me. I looked because I didn’t want to get “caught” praying for some woman in the check-out line. The first thought that entered my mind was, “Hey stupid, these people are going to think you’re crazy if you pray for this woman…don’t do it!” That’s another reason God never tells me more than I need to know… because I would chicken out if I had seen the situation sooner.
Too late. I knew if I spoke up then I would just have to go through with it. So, I touched her shoulder and said, “I’m sorry, did you have someone close to you pass away?” She looked at me with big tears in her eyes and explained that her friend in another state had a son who had drown. She was sending a card to her to tell her how sorry she was. She was distraught that she couldn’t be with her friend to console her, but she said she was getting a flight in the morning to go and be with her.
I said, “Look, you don’t have to let me, but could I just pray for you?” She shook her head yes and I began to pray. I know I should have bowed my head and probably closed my eyes, but if I had I would not have seen what happened next. I prayed and as soon as I said, “Amen” …and I’m not kidding you right then the card scanned and made a “bleep” sound. Everyone in line, including the cashier said, a big “Amen!” Off she went into the morning darkness into her car and hurried home.
After I got into my car I stopped and thought for a minute about what had just happened. I had been in a hurry, I was agitated that the lady in front of me had bought a dumb card that wouldn’t scan and God had to grab my attention away from myself to say, “Dude, you almost missed that!” I realized that this was not the first time that I had been so self-centered that I had almost missed an opportunity to bring the remarkable into someone’s life. After all of the things that had happened in my own life…obvious divine outreaches to me by God, I had been almost too busy to notice my chance to give back.
And so my message for 2019 today for you… is to BE READY and to BE WILLING! God will not use the big name EVANGELISTS anymore to reach the world, it will be through people like you and me. God’s people are EVERYWHERE and if we will just be willing to step out of our comfort zones and love people, you will see miracles in unremarkable places. Make it a New Year’s promise to yourself.