Walking the mall, Lanie was about to pass the woman. Was she going to act on God’s prompting or ignore it? A battle raged within her as she tried to decide what to do.
The woman in the food court looked bewildered and lost. She had her hands cupped over her face, bawling like a baby.
Filled with compassion, Lanie hugged her and asked, “Are you okay?”
The woman rested in Lanie’s arms and sobbed for a few moments before she spoke.
“I can’t find my son. He ran away and I am so worried. Someone told me that he was here, but I can’t find him anywhere. Security is going to meet me here and the police are coming too.”
Lanie asked, “Can I pray with you.”
“Yes, please do. His name is Joe and I’m Julia.”
Taking her hands she prayed, “Dear Lord, you know where Joe is and we ask that you find him and Lord, please keep him safe wherever he may be. Lord you love Joe and Julia and I pray that they would both sense your love and mercy and that they would come to know you. Please bring comfort to Julia and please Lord bring Joe back home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
A calm swept over Julia and the tears stopped flowing.
“Julia if you give me a description of what Joe looks like I can be on the lookout for him as I walk,” Lanie offered.
Joe was sixteen with baggie shorts and a T-shirt and had his skateboard hanging to his side as if it were an appendage. He was five foot and had short brown hair.
The second time around the mall, Lanie noticed that Julia was speaking with the police. She looked relaxed. Thankful that the police had arrived so quickly Lanie continued her walk, praying for Julia and Joe as she strolled along.
Lanie was thankful. God had provided both hope and comfort to this woman through her prayers because she made herself available, willing to swallow her pride and risk embarrassment.
Lanie had just recently been praying that God would use her to reach out to others with the gospel. Being convicted of not sharing her faith, she wasn’t sure where to begin. While surfing the net, she came upon a website of interest. A woman shared some of her stories of how she shares her faith.
Instead of asking strangers if they know Jesus or some such formula, she takes everyday life and interjects hints of God’s goodness and mercy.
After reading some of her examples, Lanie humbled herself before the Lord and prayed that God would use her to bring the lost to Him.
Two days later Lanie met Julia. At first, Lanie was tempted to walk on. She knew that she was being tested to see if she really meant what she prayed. Did she really want to follow the Lord in obedience or was she just playing around.
Lanie shared her story with a friend, feeling a little like a failure for not sharing what mainstream Christianity would consider the full gospel message. Her friend encouraged Lanie that she needed to rest in the good things that happened that day, to rejoice and not allow guilt enter for the things she didn’t say.
Overcome with joy that God had answered her prayer and that she didn’t shy away from the opportunity that presented itself, Lanie gained more courage for future opportunities to share her faith with others.
Lanie learned that compassion is a mighty force that helps you reach out to others with love. Overcoming her shyness with the Lord’s help brought boldness to meet the challenge. And asking God to lead and guide her through the process strengthened her reservations.
Now, Lanie looks for opportunities to share her faith. “You have to want to evangelize,” Lanie said.
In conclusion Lanie offered some advice. “Pray and ask God to help you overcome the fear of approaching a stranger. Be serious and willing to evangelize. If you need to, ask a close friend to pray for you and with you. Fervently pray for boldness to approach a person, wisdom to know if you are to approach them and what to say, and humility to be able to handle rejection.”
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