Last week, I had the honor of witnessing a miracle.
It was an ordinary day. I was walking into work and overheard two people behind me. I’m not sure what caught my attention. I promise I wasn’t eaves-dropping, and I didn’t hear the conversation. What captured my attention was the sound of a lady’s voice broken by a flood of emotions she was trying desperately to restrain. Though, she was speaking softly, the sound was as loud as a scream.
My initial response was to turn around and look at her, but I kept walking, intently listening. I heard her say something about a stroke and “we buried him Tuesday.” My heart sank, and my mind began piecing together the situation.
The man walking next to her probably said, “Hi. How are you?” It’s an ordinary phrase. One we mutter to people we pass in our hurry to get where ever we think we need to be so that we can do what ever it is we think we should be doing. I’m sure he was expecting an ordinary, “I’m fine. How are you?” But instead, his ordinary question was met with an extraordinary hurt and an unanticipated response.
As I realized what was unfolding behind me, I felt a God-nudge (and by “nudge” I mean shove) to reach out to her. Trying to figure out the least awkward way to approach her, I decided to let her get ahead of me. In my mind, I was praying, “Please Lord, don’t make me stalk her. Don’t make me follow her to her desk.” Mercifully, her companion scurried up the stairs, and she chose to take the elevator. So, I hopped on with her.
I had no idea what to say, but there was no doubt in my mind that God wanted me to speak. My heart was racing as fast as my mind. As I stood beside her silently, tears rolling down her face, a boldness overcame me. I asked her name, and before I knew what was happening, I heard myself say, “I’m sorry that you are hurting.” Without a moments pause, I hugged a complete stranger.
Immediately, her tears stopped, her mouth loosened into a smile and her eyes sparkled. For a fleeting moment, I witnessed a miracle – a face once full of sadness and despair almost instantaneously transformed into a face full of hope.
And just as quickly as the moment started, the elevator doors opened, and the moment passed.
As I sat down at my desk, it was tempting to start my work without a second thought, but as my mind caught up to the Spirit, I realized what had happened. I realized that God pushed my agenda, my fear and my inhibitions out of the way and stepped in to help someone He loved who was hurting. Please hear me when I say this: It wasn’t me that hugged her. It wasn’t me telling her I was sorry she was hurting. It was God.
The Bible tells us that we are God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and we are to imitate Christ’s love for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). God’s love is no easy feat to imitate. It’s a lavish, unfailing, reckless and sacrificial love (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 3:1), but we are commanded to love each other while we are a speck on the cosmic time line (John 13:34). In fact, the way we love others is evidence of whether or not we know God (1 John 4:7-8).
God’s love is huge and covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), and it’s a love that transforms ordinary moments into miracles.
My soul delights that I was privileged enough to witness that ordinary miracle, and my heart smiles in knowing that God not only sees our hurts, our disappointments, and our pain, but He goes out of His way to send His ambassadors to comfort us – even when He has to use an unsuspecting vessel on just an ordinary day.
May our prayers be not for God to comfort us, but for Him to send us people to comfort.