I was sitting on the bus, headed to the train station after work, engaging in my normal routine of watching people get on and off the bus. I watched as some people offered their seats to a lady with an armload of groceries, while others refused to even move over and share the two-person bench seat. As I sat there, my attention was suddenly captured by a woman boarding the bus who seemed to be in agony, distraught, and possibly in pain. Maneuvering through the bus in search of an open seat, she doubled over, gripped her stomach and began to cry, her pain becoming obvious.
As the bus approached the train station, it emptied a little with each stop. I noticed that the woman in pain was inching her way forward, trying to get a seat close to the door. Finally, the bus arrived at my stop and both of us got off the bus; she turned to the right, and I turned to the left.
It was at that moment that the Lord stopped me. I could hear His voice whispering in my ear: “Do you even know what is wrong with her?” Though typically I am not very assertive on my ride home (people watching and napping are more my style for that 90-minute venture), I heeded the Lord’s voice and turned around to see if she needed anything, asking her if she was all right and if there was a way I could help.
Her response was weak, the tears flowing down her cheeks with each word. She told me that she had a terrible pain in her stomach and she was waiting for the bus to take her to the hospital. I looked over my shoulder, saw her bus approaching and asked her if I could pray for her. She looked up, smiled and simply said, “Please.” I prayed for her, helped her onto her bus and then headed toward my train.
I don’t know what happened to her from there—all I know is that the Lord is God. And in times when nothing is certain, I saw that even in my own apathy God is at work using our daily routines to intersect the lives of others. That frail “please” that came from her lips still lingers in my heart, and I am reminded that the Lord is good, His love endures, and His faithfulness continues.
Know that the Lord is God, it is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people… For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:3, 5 NIV)
By: Lisa Penberthy, operations manager for the National Church Office in Los Angeles.