Friday night I stood with my back to a fire pit, keeping warm in the cool breeze coming off of the ocean. The crackle of burning wood and the powerful waves hitting the shore provided a calming soundtrack. As the sun left the realm of sight people began to empty the beach. Light from the lampposts along the wooden pier reflected off the dark water.
That night, as I stared at all of the beauty around me, I had no intention but to think through the thoughts of my heart and try and get my worries “sorted.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a young woman standing alone on the wet sand, clutching a cup of coffee and letting the water wash over her feet. Almost instantly after noticing her presence I felt the Spirit give me the urge to go talk to her.
Not now, Lord, please?! You know I’ve got so much on my heart right now.
Exactly. Get over yourself and focus on someone else. Go. Now.
My legs started moving away from the comfortable, warm fire and towards the ocean. Instead of approaching the girl directly, however, I ended up about 10-15 feet away from her––up to my calves in sea water trying to come up with a good conversation starter.
I tried about 20, but my personal favorite was, “Hey! I noticed You’re drinking coffee! Funny thing because I drink coffee too! So have you ever heard of Jesus?” Yeah, no.
Eventually I decided to wing it, and stepped towards with my hands shoved nervously in my hoodie pocket. “Hi! So, um, I know this a awkward [nervous smile], but I noticed you were standing by yourself and looked a little lonely. I just felt like I should come over and say, um…something. Are you okay?”
The girl laughed and replied with a, “Oh, do I really look lonely? No, I was just looking. It’s all so beautiful. I love to simply stare and pray.”
She prays, God…she prays!
Yes, I know.
The girl had a lovely smile and an even lovelier heart––full of praise and worship for our mutual Lord and Savior. Our conversation led us to share our (condensed) life stories, our dreams for the future and how the Lord was moving in our lives. We discovered that we were in the same relative period of life––discerning how God would use our gifts to bring him glory.
Not 5 minutes into our talk she pulled her well-worn Bible from her purse in order to share a passage of scripture to encourage me as I wait for the Lord. I could not stop smiling and I struggled to keep down tears of joy at what a blessing the whole meeting was becoming.
I believe that the two of us probably would have talked for hours, but it grew late and my family called me away to leave. The girl and I exchanged contact information and left each other with a hug and the promise of meeting again––if not in this life, then in the next.
I had expected it to be a short and awkward interaction where I would try and pass along a few words of truth to a lonely girl and then leave not knowing whether or not I had touched her. Instead, I received much more than I gave. I had the blessing of meeting a sister, the encouragement of her insight, and the knowledge that the Lord knew that I needed that meeting.
Earlier on that evening, around the fire pit, I prayed that God would reveal himself to me in multiple ways, that he would show me how much he loved me and give me something to smile about and hold on to.
He did just that, but first, I had to trust and obey.