I want to tell you how intimately our God knows us, knows our heart aches, our dreams, our goals, our deepest desires, and our hurts. And I want you to know that nothing is impossible for Him. He will arrange the most divine appointments to comfort us, if we seek Him. I have story after story after story in my life alone, and have heard countless testimonies told by others as well. But tonight, I want to tell you about a man named Sam, and an encounter that was arranged by God.
Sam’s daughter, Michele, was my very dear friend. In fact, we called each other “seesters.” We lived next door to each other, raised our children together, worked from home together, had coffee every morning together….. You get the picture. We were close.
Well, Sam was Michele’s Dad. He was awesome. He was kind, and sweet, and gentle, and he loved his daughter and his grandchildren and son-in-law more than anything in the world. He also loved to golf. Sam would very often come over to Michele’s for coffee, (or “java”) as she liked to call it. She would knock on our common wall, and I’d run over to see Sam, have a cup of java with the two of them, and always a piece of fresh fruit. Michele always had fresh fruit!
Sam would always tell me to “speak up!” He was an artillery man in the Army and had lost much of his hearing. We also exchanged many Army stories over the years! He was always interested in the activities of his grandchildren. He was such a proud father to Michele, and loved his grandchildren, and they loved him!
My friend Michele became very sick one summer, and was soon diagnosed with cancer. She immediately started treatment, and not long afterwards became quite sick. I would ride my bike to the hospital to see Michele during the day, every day. She laughed and made jokes, just like Michele, but I knew she was afraid. I would often cry on my way home. And I was worried about Sam. She was his only child, and he loved her so. I knew this would be very difficult for him.
During this time, I was confiding in my friend Sue, who was such a comfort to me, and I told her how sad Michele’s dad would be if he lost his daughter. Sue and Michele had never met.
Sue called me one afternoon, just a few days before Michcle would pass away. She wanted to tell me that she had met a little old man in Kroger who, she just happened to strike up a conversation with. Just about this time, I began to think of Michele’s dad, Sam – He always shopped at Kroger.
Then, Sue began to tell me that this gentleman was very sad, and shared with Sue that his daughter, Michele, was very sick and that he was very scared to lose her. Sue went on to say that she offered to pray with him, which the little old man agreed to, and right there, in what I think I recall correctly as the ice cream aisle, she held the little old man’s hands and prayed for him and his daughter, Michele. She asked me, “By any chance, is your friend Michele’s father’s name, Sam?”
“Yes!!!” Oh my gosh! You just prayed with Michele’s Dad, Sam!
Only the Lord can arrange something like this. Sam talked to everyone! And Sue is just like Sam! (That is a MAJOR compliment!) And Sue is not shy about praying for anyone – What a perfect person to cross paths with Sam!
Well, tonight I learned that Sam has passed away. My heart is aching because I know his family has endured far more loss than anyone deserves to, in an especially short period of time, too. But I can’t help but grin as I imagine Sam golfing on the most luscious green he’s ever seen, and drinking java with his favorite daughter, no doubt, with the best selection of fruit we’ve yet to imagine.
Thank you, to my dear friend Sue Rober, who was a comfort to me when I was losing Michele. And thank you, for the comfort you brought to Sam, right in the middle of the ice cream aisle. You are such an inspiration and example to all who know you, and especially to me!
Never, ever be afraid or embarrassed to pray out loud when someone needs it. Don’t pass up opportunities to comfort someone or share a kind word. And don’t ever, ever under-estimate what divine encounters our God is able, willing and LONGING to orchestrate for you.
Hebrews 13:2, says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”