The beach was like many of the others I’d seen–strewn with rocks and shells of varying shapes and sizes. As I walked along, over 2,000 miles from home, I thought about how similar it was, even though it was so very far away and foreign.
Stopping to look out over the ocean I noticed movement in my periphery. The beach had come alive when I stood still and quiet. The shells had begun to skitter across the sand as hermit crabs emerged and scurried along in their tiny stolen homes. Sand crabs poked their heads and pincers out of the holes they had dug for themselves. The sand became a hot bed of activity and busyness while I stood quietly watching.
The longer I stood and observed the more I remarked upon the uniqueness of each creature. This hermit crab had chosen a shell that looked far too small for its form. A small mob had gathered near a particularly pristine and empty shell, fighting a duel that I can only imagine would determine the future owner of it.
Often, in the hustle and bustle of my everyday life as a daughter, wife, and working mother, I miss these details–the wonders and intricacy of my God’s creation. This is nowhere more true than with His most prized creation: mankind, my fellow brothers and sisters on this round ball we call home.
How often have I missed the singular beauty of one uniquely created soul because I was moving too fast to see it? Too fast to gaze long enough to observe, to watch, and, most importantly, to listen.
God is longing to brag on and tell us about His beloved people. All of His people. Every one. Every, single, one of the almost seven billion people on our planet.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
How many times have I missed a chance to hear His thoughts toward them? Toward her, there, in the checkout line. To him, the young man right next to my table at the coffee shop?
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them and You listen to their cry.” Psalm 10:17
Every time I’ve asked Him to speak to me about His people, and been still long enough in my spirit to listen, it’s been an astonishingly poignant and rewarding event in my life.
Once, on my lunch hour I rushed into the local department store in search of a dress for an upcoming special occasion. Surprisingly, I found the perfect one quickly, tried it on, and moved to the cashier to make my purchase and get moving back into the busyness of my day. The clerk seemed to be moving slower than molasses. But, basking in the glow of my shopping triumph, I chose not to become annoyed and relaxed as she fussed with the dress, hanging it and looking for a bag to pull over it.
In that moment I felt the Lord prompting me, “Pray for her.” “Okay Lord,” I thought, “Bless this woman today … ”
“NO,” He interrupted, “Touch her. See her! Pray for her.”
“Well,” I thought, “this could be awkward, but okay Lord. I’ll obey You.”
As she reached for my debit card I lightly grabbed her hand, looked in her eyes, and asked, “Can I pray for you?”
What seemed like a flood of tears came spilling over out of her large, deep, brown eyes. She could barely mumble, “Yes,” as she quietly sobbed there in the middle of the store at 12:30 on a Tuesday. So I prayed. I prayed the Father’s heart of comfort for her, and especially prayed for a current family situation that I knew nothing of but felt impressed to mention. She wept the whole time I prayed. When it was over, she looked deep into my eyes, squeezed my hand and said, “Thank you. God sent you as an angel to me today!”
I walked away thinking, “Lady, I am no angel! If you’d only heard the way I yelled at my son this morning; or knew the nasty thoughts I’d had toward the non-cooperative co-worker I’d spoken with by phone just before entering the store, you’d know the real truth!”
But instantly God screamed in my heart, “No! You are my obedient daughter! You yielded to my voice today. I am using you to see the unseen! To let them know I see them. I love them. Be not just my hands and feet–be my eyes!”
Wow! What an amazing opportunity we have! To see another soul from God’s perspective. With His Spirit alive in us we can! We need only be still and listen.
Will you take time to stop, watch, and listen today? Are there people around you hurting? Would you know it if you passed them on the street or at the grocery store? What does God want to do for them through you today? A touch, a prayer, a word of encouragement, a look in the eye with a nod of “I see you”?
Ask Him. Listen and obey. And be blessed in so doing.
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” - Les Miserables