Making my way to the airport gate, I basked in the stunned delight of one who has just experienced the blessing of God through prayer.
Earlier, as I climbed aboard the shuttle bus that would take me from one side to the other of the massive airport, I found just enough room to squeeze myself next to an elderly woman before the bus choked with passengers. The elderly woman smiled warmly at me, and I smiled back.
The conversation came easily. Soon the elderly woman shared a number of difficult situations she had endured in the last year—her son’s sudden death of cancer that no one knew he had, her own battles with cancer, and more. The weight of her burden settled upon me as she spoke.
How could I simply nod and murmur sympathies when this woman spoke of deep pain?
Oh, Lord, comfort and heal this woman, I prayed.
Swiftly, the answer returned. Pray for her.
A tingle swept down my spine. He meant now. With the woman. On a crowded bus.
I turned to the woman. “You know, it sounds like you’ve gone through so much, and I’m so sorry. Can I pray for you?”
Instantly, her eyes poured over with tears, and she gripped my hand. “Oh, honey,” she sobbed brokenly. “That would be wonderful.”
We bowed our heads and I prayed for her peace and comfort, and for the Lord to reveal Himself and His love to her in ways she had never experienced before. While I prayed, the bus halted at its destination and the doors opened. Yet not a single passenger disembarked or spoke. It was like time had frozen as we two women prayed together.
I finished the prayer and hugged the elderly woman. We were both crying now. We disembarked and shared our names with each other, then we parted.
Now, as I found my gate, questions filled my mind. What if I had squelched the prompting to pray with her, too self-conscious to cry out to my God on behalf of a lonely, hurting woman? What if my comfort had meant more to me than her needs?
“Thank you, Lord,” I prayed. “Thank you for blessing a stranger through my faithfulness to pray.”
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.