Last Sunday I had a verbal exchange with a woman standing in line at the Circle K on my way home from church. It was brief but the words exchanged were enough for me to realize that the woman that approached me first was a sad, sad soul. This is how the short conversation went:
Woman, about 40 years old or so: "You been to church?"
Me: Nodding, I said, "I go to Quest right down the road. Where do you go?"
Woman: "I don't. Maybe you can tell me. How is it that your God can let so many of the bad things going on in the world happen? What's going on? If there is a God and if He cared, He'd stop all of this. Instead, it's just one bad thing after another."
Me: "Oh, there's definitely a God. Just because bad things are happening doesn't mean that He's not there for you or everyone else. He told us that these things would happen. He said that there would be wars and bad diseases and earthquakes and floods. It's all right there in the Bible. Man has made many, many bad decisions and in the times of bad, that's an open invitation for Satan to step in and seize the opportunity. Instead of blaming God, we need to be paying attention to things and making our lives right with Him. He loves all of us and cares. Do you read your Bible?"
Woman: "I don't know if I have one."
Me: "I'll be glad to let you have mine. It's right out in the car."
Woman: "I don't have time to read it. I've got better things to do."
And she turned and walked away from me. I followed her outside and told her, "Maybe if you had a Bible you'd find the time to read it. There's a lot to be learned and explained from reading it and I'll be more than glad to give you mine. You may find more comfort in having one than you think. Let me get it."
I turned to head to my car and she got in hers and drove away without another word. All I could do was stand and stare in the direction of the car, much newer than mine, as it drove away from me. I got in my own car and sat and prayed for that woman. She is so lost and so unaware of the God that loves her so much. She is so bitter and scared that she's not able to hear the call of our Lord, that He wants her to be with Him.
When incidents like this happen, I always wonder if I said the right thing. Did I handle it correctly? I tried to sound sincere and caring. I should have invited her to church. I felt like she really needed something. Why else would she approach me like that? She seemed to be educated and was well-dressed. How could she be so far from the reality of a living and caring God?
"Dear precious God. Be with this woman and offer her special attention. She so desperately needs to see that You exist and that You care for her. I don't know what it'll take for You to make your presence known, but I can see that she needs You. I know that you have ways to touch the minds, hearts, and souls of those who have strayed from You. I don't know if she's ever known You, but I do know that it's not too late for her to see, love and come to You. Please bring peace and understanding on her and her life. Amen."