The first thing she heard was a torturous scream. The first thing she saw was a woman falling to her knees, her cell phone at her ear. Watching from her rear-view mirror, she surmised that bad news had come across the cell phone, thrusting the young woman into a state of agony.
A man with the woman appeared to console her as best he could. A nurse appeared from the hospital, kneeling to help and perhaps explain what had happened. My friend sensed the Lord telling her to pray with the couple, to offer comfort even from a state of not knowing what had happened.
She sat and watched for several minutes, arguing with herself whether she should approach. Picture an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other. She was smack dab in the middle but leaning toward the angel.
Finally, as the nurse began rising, my friend left her car and approached the couple, asking them, “Are you believers?” When they nodded yes, she asked if she could pray with them.
From her lips poured words of faith and comfort, asking God to strengthen them and to give them a sense of his presence during their time of momentous change. She did not know what the tragedy was nor did she need to know. When she finished praying with them, she smiled and returned to the car. The angel on one shoulder had won.
She’ll never know what impact her caring had on this young couple, and she doesn’t need to know.
We earthlings get right obsessed with ourselves when we “do good,” don’t we? Puffed up and puffed out, we pat ourselves on the back with “good job,” “bet God is proud of me for that” or “well done, good and faithful servant.” The Pharisees of old kept track of every law they kept every day, a sure sign of self-righteousness that should penetrate our hearts and make them spasm with fear. Self-righteousness is an enemy to humility and kindness, selflessness and compassion.
I was present when my friend offered her kindness to strangers. Awe still fills my mind when I realize I am the only person who knows what she did; I’ll never reveal her identity. What needs to be known is only that she listened to God’s Spirit telling her to pray with the young couple and she followed his nudging in obedience and service.
Oswald Chambers, author of “My Utmost for His Highest,” a record-selling and challenging collection of devotions, writes: “God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.” That is a blessing in and of itself, lest we all become Pharisees.
There are many people in my life, for all of its 61 years, who have blessed me in ways they do not know. One was a complete stranger. I will never know his name, remember where he was from, or what he did for a living. I will only know that his influence on my life has been profound.
My friend showed caring grace to the young couple. One of my hopes is that when I see God face to face, he will let me know ways I showed grace, too, especially when I did not realize it. “'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).