It WAS a dark and rainy night after an evening church service. Rain is falling in that steady, rhythmic spatter of more than a sprinkle, not exactly a full on deluge. Just a soaking, steady rain and cold enough outside to see your breath, chill you to the bone. I’m schlepping load after load of folding chairs from the sanctuary to our storage shed. Not that far in dry weather, but tonight it was a good forty-fifty yards of walking slowly, shuffling with the weight of six chairs as I repeatedly trudged back and forth.
O.K, I’m not trying to appear a martyr or asking you to plan a pity party… but it was gnarly out there. Cold, 39F and really wet and really dark. About 8:30pm the last sunday in November. Not a huge surprise, but there had been no extra volunteers available after evening service to help move the furniture and change the room back from the church set up to a coffee shop cafe for the week. As I walked back and forth for the fourth or fifth time alone, soaked and dripping in my winter coat and beanie, I felt a really cold trickle of almost frozen water drip down my back from the soaked wool of my hat. It wasn’t as refreshing as you might think… nasty.
I whispered a prayer… “God, I’m not complaining, but it would be great to have some help so i can get this done and get home to my nice warm house and get some rest before the work week kicks in for real tomorrow morning. It’s been a tough weekend and I’m tired, and a bit worn out.” I wasn’t expecting an answer, just venting a bit to God about the isolation of my evening predicament.
As I approached the door to return to the church space, I found a girl about eleven watching me as I came back inside. She quickly came up and asked me if I needed some help. In a room full of active adults, an eleven year old little girl was the answer to my prayer ? Wow. Not only had God heard my little frustrated prayer, He chose to immediately respond with an answer. Not with a big burly guy or capable teen, but with a young lady who was available, willing and eager to “help”.
Humbled, I mumbled my thanks and tried to hide my surprise. Abbie Jones was my angel’s name, she shrugged into her winter coat and without a moment’s hesitation plunged into the rain and dark and cold, right by my side. For fifteen minutes she worked steadily with me in the less than comfortable conditions, carrying chairs and light furniture back and forth until we were done. No complaint, No concerns, No frustrations at all.
She just was happy to help out, she just offered herself to serve.
When we were done, she disappeared back into the church to play with her friends. She was sopping wet now, but just as full of enthusiasm as she had been when I saw her at the door after whispering my simple prayer.
As Abbie and I worked, some of the adults noticed us and joined in to help. As we carried chairs, I remembered another little girl, just a few years older than Abbie, who made herself available to serve God in an inconvenient time and way. She must have been a lot like this little angel God sent me sunday night.As I drove home I had a lot on my mind… God’s answers to our prayers are so different from what we think when we utter them. Abbie sure was an amazing young lady in the making, her parents must be so proud of her. I wondered if they knew how great their little girl really was?… I would have to tell them.
So I have.
Thanks Abbie for being my helper last night, you were an answer to prayer. My prayer. You reminded me of another humble and self-sacrificing young woman we all read about this time of year. A girl who must have been surprised at how she was an answer to all of mankind’s prayers… and how she would become famous for all time. It’s not so ridiculous. Helping God’s people by carrying chairs isn’t so different from being a part of God’s plan to save the world. Both require humility, genuine love and a servant’s heart. Qualities that God only sees clearly and greatly treasures. Qualities that Abbie shared with another….
A young lady named Mary.
Peace out this Holiday Season dear parents. You never know what role God will honor your children with, but you can be sure He will honor you both for preparing them well to serve!