She came to our church in need of financial assistance for rent. Unfortunately the best we could do was to refer her to a couple of local agencies that had fund to help. As she sat in the hall with her four year old, my heart went out to her. I didn’t know how she got in the situation she was in, but I knew that it must be a scary and difficult place; maybe it was her first time in need, maybe this was all too familiar. I was on my way out the door, but God prompted me to stop and pray with her, and His heart for her beautiful. It was to bless and encourage, to speak life into dark places, to remind her of hope. And when we were finished, tears were trickling down her cheeks.
This happens fairly often when I get to pray with people coming in for assistance (though I am not led to pray with every person who comes), and I have wondered at their tears since many of them are not actively pursuing a relationship with God, not involved in a church. Yet when we pray, something in them is reminded that they are not alone. Something at their core resonates with a God who loves and cares for them even more deeply than their physical needs, though He does care for those needs as well. Moments of crisis in life tend to open our spiritual ears and eyes and remind us of our need for God.
What is curious to me is that most times, those who are so moved in God’s presence during prayer don’t actively follow up on knowing that presence more deeply. We certainly offer ways for that to happen, things like Sunday worship and small groups for women, especially for those who we have relationship with through one of our ministries at church. But usually we are not taken up on those offers. I wonder if they don’t feel worthy to know the Lord intimately on their own, or if they perceive that they might not be well-received by a “rich white church.” Or, like many of us, their moments of spiritual clarity are quickly swallowed up by the cares of this world, the worries of life, and the desire for other things (Mark 4:1-20).
I hope this woman pays attention to her tears, pays attention to her longing for love and for the Lord, and that she will follow through to know Him more. He certainly knows and loves her.