Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dennys, Discipleship, and Death

You never know the hurt of the people who walk right by you unless you ask. Brokenness abounds.

We were at Denny's on Saturday morning for a time of discipleship/accountability. We found our booth, started settling in, and our waitress made her way over to our table. She is noticeably the most cheerful person in the joint. She grabs our coffee and waters and comes back to take our orders - and soon the food arrives.

As she is about to leave, I tell her, "We are going to pray here in a moment - can we pray for you as well?" She seems uncomfortable, but nods her head yes and keeps smiling. I press in - "Is there anything we can pray for in particular?"

She fumbles for a moment and then says, "Yeah, I just lost my husband. You can pray for me in that." Wow. No one expected that response. I expressed my sadness for her and committed to praying for her. I told her I was a pastor at the church next door and would be willing to meet with her if she wanted to talk.

She went on about her morning. She's dealing with one of the life's greatest losses, smiling and keeping busy at Denny's. Oh how people need the comfort and love of Jesus Christ! How many smiling people do we pass by each day who are gripped with the sorrow of this temporary abode? How much good can the gospel do for this lost and dying world if we would stop and engage?

Please pray that as we go back, God would open a door unto eternal life for this woman.

UPDATE: I received an Anonymous comment that read, "How do you know she isn't a Christian? It's ridiculous that you are speculating about something so private." My practice going forward on this blog will not be to respond to anonymous comments, but here is my response:

She might be. I hope she is! I hope that she has truly been regenerated and is walking in the comfort of knowing the Lord because that is her only hope in this life and in death. It didn't seem like she was eager to engage me in the topic, but we don't know for sure.

Ridiculous to speculate? Not at all. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5), bringing the ministry of reconciliation to the world. We are to look for opportunities everywhere we go to bring the gospel of life to those who don't know Christ, which means we need to ask questions. And listen to responses. And sometimes we'll find we are talking to those who have already been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Many times we will not. But it doesn't mean we don't talk, or engage, or speculate, or ask, or pray.

Thank you anonymous for helping me to clarify this point.

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