In these days when many of us are not around a lot of people it’s easy to start perceiving that we are alone. A while ago I had an amazing encounter that I thought a lot about during the last few days. This experience reminded me that we are not alone.
As we are raising support to start serving in missions I have been working part time with my friend who owns a construction business. One of my jobs was to help remodel a hair salon. I have been knocking down walls and panting. I was working alone early one morning when a lady who I would guess was about 80 years old came in. My thoughts first of all was that she probably thought she had a hair appointment that day. So I explained that the salon was shut during the remodel. She seemed very confused and kept talking about an event for the Girl Scouts that she wanted to help with. I told her I didn’t know anything about that but I would check. I texted my boss and he didn’t know anything about any event. This lady came back into the salon probably another four or five times over the course of the next half an hour. I kept repeating the same thing that I didn’t know anything about any event. I was getting more and more concerned about this lady. Finally I asked her if she would be willing to just sit down and chat for a minute. She seemed both confused and embarrassed. So I tried to just sympathize and say I wanted to help. So we both sat and started talking.
I asked her if she was feeling OK because she seemed to be very confused. She told me that her husband dropped her off but kept talking about wanting to help with the Girl Scouts. So I suggested that we try calling her husband. When we tried his number he didn’t answer. This lady let’s call her Betty, although that’s not her real name, kept apologizing and saying how embarrassed she felt. I then suggested that maybe I should try and take her home. I asked her if she knew where she lived and she replied that she wasn’t sure but she knew she lived by a school. I then asked her if the school was for younger kids or older kids, and she replied it was for younger kids. So I said let’s look at names of local schools and see if anyone rings a bell. I started reading the list of the elementary schools in the area. After about the third or fourth school she said that’s it that’s the one. So I said let’s head to that school and see if anything looks familiar. I prayed that God would help me to encourage this lady, and not let her feel scared or threatened.
We both got into my car and we headed for the school that was about a mile away. As we got close to the school she said now I think I know where I’m at and she pointed to a side road. We drove down that side road and she pointed to a house. I went to the door with her but unfortunately no one was home. She then remembered that her daughter lived across the street, so we went and knocked on the door. A man answered the door and looked very surprised to see me and then confused to see what later I learned was his mother-in-law. He was so grateful that I brought her home and I was glad that she was now safely with family.
I continued to work that morning wondering what the backstory was. The answers to my questions came later in the afternoon when one of the stylists came to pick up some supplies. I told him what had happened and he told me that the lady, Betty, was actually one of his clients who has been suffering with progressive dementia for the last few years. He was so glad that I was there and able to help this precious lady.
The story reminds me that even in the midst of all of the stuff that’s going on with so much uncertainty and so much unknown and so much confusion, God is still at work in big and small ways. If we all keep our eyes open I’m sure God will give us regular opportunities, especially in this season, to be his hands and feet. God may seem silent but he is not at all. In fact I would say he is more active these days than I’ve seen for a long time. This is the time that is ripe for the hope of the gospel and the peace that Jesus alone can give.
God is at work in what seems to be a mess. When so many are crying out to God, some are concluding that God is silent. Perhaps we are just looking in the wrong places. Maybe we are guilty of thinking God has to move in the ways we think He should, not in ways He knows are best.