June 9, 2008

Paying Attention

Sharon Jaynes

 

 

Today’s Truth

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

 

Friend to Friend

To Beth it was the confusion of an inept airline. To me, it was a divine appointment from God.

 

“I don’t have an assigned seat,” the disheveled young woman complained as she stumbled into the airplane.

 

“This one is empty,” I pointed out.

 

“Thanks,” she huffed as she plopped down.

 

The beautiful young lady was obviously exhausted. She was dressed in skin tight jeans, and a distracting low-cut t-shirt. Her flip-flops slid under her feet to reveal a tattoo on the top of her foot. Sunglasses hid something…I wasn’t sure what. She looked straight ahead, but I felt that her mind was traveling to a distant place.

 

After the plane left the ground, I pulled out my latest book that I was reviewing for an upcoming radio interview. Put the book down and talk to this girl, God seemed to say.

 

God, she doesn’t want to talk. I can tell by her body language. She’s not interested in conversation, I mentally argued.

 

Put the book down and talk to this girl. (God can be very persistent. Especially when it comes to one of his little lost lambs.)

 

I closed the book and turned to this…kid.

 

“So, where are you headed?” I asked.

 

“Home,” she replied.

 

“Where’s home?”

 

“Right outside of Charlotte,” she replied. “It’s a small town. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it.”

“Were you in Florida on business or pleasure?” I continued.

 

“I was visiting my boyfriend,” she answered.

 

Then she took off her sunglasses to reveal red swollen eyes. She glanced down at the book in my lap. Your Scars are Beautiful to God,” she read, “that’s an interesting topic. I’ve got lots of scars.”

 

“So do I,” I replied. “That’s why I wrote the book.”

 

“You wrote that book?”

 

“Yep.”

 

For the next hour and a-half, this young girl poured out her heart. She had been abandoned by her birth father and sexually abused by several men in her life. She was on this flight home because her boyfriend, who had just come out of a drug rehabilitation center, had “roughed her up.” Actually, she was fleeing. My heart broke as this beautiful young girl told me story after story of cruelties that had been done to her mingled with bad choices that had been made through her. At the moment, her life resembled a hundred car train wreck with one lone survivor who was in desperate need of life resuscitation.

 

As my mind engaged with Beth (nor her real name), my spirit communed with God. What do I do? I prayed. So much hurt. So much pain.

 

Pray for her…now.

 

“Beth, would you mind if I prayed for you?”

 

“No,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I’d like that.”

 

I held Beth’s hand and God’s sorrow for this girl filled my heart. It wasn’t just a “God bless Beth,” sort of prayer. I sobbed. It was as if God’s pain for this girl I didn’t even know was flowing through me.

 

As God would have it, Beth and I were on the front row of a very sparsely filled plane. The only person paying any attention to us was the flight attendant who sat facing us in her jump seat. I’m not sure, but I think God was working in her heart as well.

 

When the plane landed, I handed Beth the book, we exchanged e-mails, and embraced one last time. Since then, we have kept in touch and Beth has continued her journey for peace and purpose. Her stepfather wrote me a letter expressing his appreciation for taking the time to minister to his “little girl.” He wrote: “I had been praying for God to send Beth an angel and I believe He did.”

 

Well, I’m no angel, that’s for sure. However, I believe the angels were hovering around us in that plane. The airplane may have been soaring in the sky, but Beth and I flew to the throne room of God.

 

One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that God has given us great power through prayer. Through the pages of the Bible and the volumes of history, we see God mightily working on behalf of those who seek Him through prayer. There is great power in the words of a woman offered up to God. However, unlike the power of our words to our children, our husbands, our friends, the church and the world, this power comes from God. He simply invites us to open the floodgates of heaven with our words.

 

All through our lives, there will be times when we feel powerless. But friend, we are never more powerful than when we use our words in prayer. I was only with Beth a few hours in that airplane, but God’s power was evident when we grasped hands and prayed. His transforming power did more in a few moments than any human could have done in years.

 

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I am in awe today, once again, that You allow me to come into your presence with but a word. I am also amazed, once again, that You use simple weak vessels like me to reach out to Your precious wounded daughters. Help me to keep my eyes open as I move through my day. Don’t let me miss the opportunities that You provide to reach out and share Your amazing love. I love You so much!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

Now it’s Your Turn

Today, you have an assignment. Grab your Bible and look up the following verses.

 

  • Luke 19:1-9

What was Jesus doing? Where was He going?

Who did He take time to notice?

What was the outcome?

 

  • Mark 5:23-34

What was Jesus doing? Where was he going?

Who did He take time to notice?

What was the outcome?

 

What can you learn and apply to your life by the example Jesus set?

 

More from the Girlfriends
Just like Beth, many of us have been deeply wounded in our lives. Sometimes it is because of what someone did to us, and sometimes it is because of mistakes or poor choices we have made. Did you know that God wants to heal you of the past wounds? Did you know that your scars are beautiful to Him? If you would like to learn more about how to find peace and purpose in the hurts of your past, you’ll want to read Sharon Jaynes’ book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God. Let God turn hurt into healing and pain into purpose.

 

 

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