By Mark Brunner
It seemed like a simple enough request; to buy a pack of gum, a tin of mints and to save the receipt so I could be reimbursed.
So I set off for Rice's bookstore, which I had been assured by a couple of people was open. But after the five-minute walk, I arrived and was surprised to discover it was closed. Oh well, I thought, as a hospital in the distance caught my eyes. I'll just walk there and buy the gum and mints at the gift shop. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the entrance. Unlike the bookstore, the hospital was open. But to my surprise, the gift shop was closed.
That's ok, I thought, surely the hotel that looks to be a couple blocks over will have a gift shop. Five minutes later, I strolled into the lobby and found the gift shop. It was open, but I was shocked to learn they didn't sell gum or mints. The young clerk suggested I try a store called Boxes, ETC that was across the street. Undeterred, I headed that way and entered the store, breathing a sigh of relief as I immediately spied gum and mints.
After also grabbing a drink for myself and my friend, I headed to the counter. I noticed a woman noticeably distressed talking to the cashier.
She was explaining that she was being harassed in social media, which was disrupting her ability to manage an online prayer group. On top of that, she was in need of a kidney transplant and still had yet to find a match. The woman then turned and looked at me, saying she was sorry for holding up the line. I responded that it was fine, and that I was sorry she was going through so much.
I encouraged her to let
I turned to leave but the cashier stopped me, asking me if I could pray for her to stop smoking. She said God has done a lot in her life but that was one area she had yet to find victory in. I said it would be my pleasure, and encouraged her to get to the source of why she was smoking.
She said she had never thought about an actual reason, other than addiction, but she figured it's because she is nervous about how her kids will grow up. I smiled and told her I d be praying for that too and that God will continue to be at work in her life.
As I started my 20-minute walk back, it became crystal clear to me. It was never just about the gum and mints, which I did still purchase. I had trekked all over the place and been turned away for one reason or another at three different locations because God needed me at Newsbox, Etc. at 1717 Dryden Street to pray and talk to those two ladies. Who knows what the future holds for them, or for me for that matter, but I know who's calling the shots.
God's timing is perfect. Trusting and being obedient to Him will turn even a seemingly mundane task of buying some gum and mints into the adventure of a lifetime.
"My wife had been growing increasingly distant.
One day she looked at me and said,
'I still love you, but I m not in love with you.'"
"...after a few days it was clear she wanted to end it.
I collected the pieces of my shattered heart
and was on the next bus home."
"To make a long story short,
three-and-a-half years later, we were married.
Well, it didn't take long for our marriage to become a mess."
In the end, this led to even more broken relationships and emotional scars.
By my high school graduation, I was a battered mess.
"'We haven't been able to revive her; you need to pray,'
was the first medical report I heard after about ten minutes of anxious waiting."
"My sexual orientation
has been constantly questioned through high school and college.
Even now in my work place people have asked about my sexuality."
"God needed me at Newsbox, Etc. at 1717 Dryden Street
to pray and talk to those two ladies...God's timing is perfect."
"It all happened so quickly.
In a matter of seconds the men had dashed up from behind,
put me in a choke hold, and shoved me to the ground."