“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Divine Appointment – Hers, Mine and Ours
I had first met Mary several years ago during my attempt at selling Avon. During one of my deliveries she gave me a book of encouragement she had written which later helped carry me through a very dismal, dark time in my life. Since that time our paths have crossed many times in the grocery store I now work at. We have shared our love for the Lord and our faith in Him encouraging one another through some very difficult times and struggles we had faced
As she entered the store on this particular day heading toward the shopping buggies to begin her routine my first instinct was to finish the task at hand and seek refuge in the office. With time already slipping away and many things to finish the thought of sacrificing precious time to engage in conversation did not feel like a welcome option. Caught up in the busyness of the day my thoughts of work to be accomplished slipped into overdrive and the memory of Mary in the store slipped away. After completing several more tasks I rounded the corner heading to the office where peace and quiet awaited me. Suddenly I found myself standing face to face with this wonderful woman I had been hoping to avoid. Unable to avoid engaging in conversation I offered her the usual “Hi how are you doing”. Much to my surprise the very first words from her were “He passed away Tuesday.” Overwhelmed with guilt and shame at my attempt to avoid this precious women I suddenly noticed the peace that radiated from her as she explained. Monday night when she visited with her husband for the last time she was able to read to him, sing to him and even pray with him knowing he was no longer in any pain from the many years of cancer that had slowly deteriorated his mind and body. At that moment the memories of last moments spent with ones I have loved and lost came rushing back through my mind. I instantly knew the peace that I saw radiating from her. Not peace found inside the quiet walls behind an office door but the peace that only God can provide a peace that surpasses all understanding that allows us to get through the day especially following the loss of a loved one. I also remembered the loneliness that could follow after all the condolences were gone and she was left to return to what was no longer routine and the label of “Buddy’s wife” had disappeared leaving an emptiness that only God could fill. Stumbling to find just the right words where none were to be found I simply placed my arms around her in silence. We both knew God would carry her through and be the light upon the path that she was to begin to walk without Buddy by her side. As if reading my very thoughts she whispered “How do people make it through without God?” A question for which I had no answer.
In the weeks that have followed I no longer avoid Mary as she continues her shopping routine but welcome each and every encounter as she embraces life and the peace that God has given her, not as the world gives but as He gives.