I am not sure of the year, but the event echoes in my mind. It was a warm day under the hot Nevada sun. I had heard about a home Bible study group that was in a small senior apartment complex in the southern part of Henderson, Nevada. I attended a large church in Vegas and thought it would be great to get into a smaller group to actually form relationships with other people, instead of just being part of an unknown crowd.
So, I typed in the address that I had found on the website, into my cell phone’s GPS. I found the apartment complex easy enough and parked in one of the many spaces available. I had the number of the building and of the apartment, but once I walked into the courtyard, I wasn’t clear which building was which. I figured I would simply knock on a door with the same number in hopes that I was at the correct building.
An elderly lady came to the door. I asked her if this was the apartment that was hosting a Bible study. When she told me it wasn’t, I thanked her and began to turn around to continue my search. But instead, the frail old lady looking back at me through the crack in the door asked if I could please come in and help her. She had wanted to watch a movie but didn’t know how to work her remote, nor was she sure which remote went to which TV or DVD or VCR player.
I hesitated because I was already late but couldn’t ignore the pleading in her eyes. She pulled the door wide open to welcome me into her home. As my eyes began to adjust to the darkness of her home from the bright sun outside, I saw her despair. I cautiously walked behind her as she led me into her tiny studio apartment. In that one-room home was a small kitchen on one side and a mattress on the floor on the other side with one lone chair. It was positioned in front of two old CRT television sets, each sitting on separate portable metal stands. One had a VCR player connected to it and the other had a DVD player connected to it. And cluttered on all the open floor space was jumbled stacks and stacks and stacks of movies, some were VHS movies while others were DVDs.
She told me she had wanted to watch a particular movie but wasn’t sure which remote went to which TV and/or which video system. I am not real savvy but thought I could try to help her. She mentioned that she was going to have someone come by but wasn’t sure when they would be there. And so, I set my purse and my bible on the floor and tried to figure it out for her. After several minutes it was all sorted out and she thanked me and then wanted to just talk. I listened to her stories and found out that in her younger years she had actually been a cook for a time for BB King. She proudly pointed to a lone picture of the singer on the otherwise empty walls.
We chit chatted a bit more as she walked me the few steps back to the front door. Because I don’t believe there is ever a coincidence in a believer’s’ life, I asked her if she knew Jesus and if she wanted prayer. She said yes to both. So, in the small dark studio apartment we prayed together. Tears streamed down her cheeks. We hugged before she left, and she asked if I could stop by again sometime. I nodded in agreement, thinking I probably would be here again anyway.
Surprisingly as I turned around, after she closed the door behind me, I saw the number of the apartment I had been searching for in the beginning.
I thought I would return the next time I came to the Bible study. And I want to proudly say, “I did return, and we became close friends”. Wasn’t this a “God ordained meeting”? But instead, I have to report that I never did go back. The meeting moved locations and busyness took my time from me. After several months I forgot and eventually moved away. Sometimes it really bothers me. How could I not return? How could I forget a lonely person that longed for companionship? I can only hope and pray that God heard her heart, and though I know God forgives me I was not the blessed person to meet her need.
Fast forward several years later to December 2022 and several states north. I am attending a small church in the great northwest and have had the opportunity to create lasting friendships. From those friendships I was invited to a Christmas painting party. I love to paint, especially with friends. It sounded marvelous. One of those friends offered to give me a ride. She had been to the house before, so I gladly accepted.
The snow blanketed the roads, so it was difficult to find parking. She remembered though that there was an open parking lot near the home that was hosting the party. That was convenient. So, we parked and marched through the heavy drifting snow. We were coming in a bit late, so instead of knocking on the door we thought we would just let ourselves into the home.
My friend went ahead of me and announced our presence. Except there was no party there. There were no people. Were they in the back of the house? And then we heard a lady frantically asking who was in her home.
“Oh no,” my friend said frantically, “this isn’t the right house!”
I was hysterical. Part of me was laughing uncontrollably. The other part was anxious, and I pushed my way in front of my friend running towards the front door, loudly whispering behind me, “hurry”!
She, on the other hand, was trying to apologize and explain our plight. I hurried out the front door and hopped like a bunny through the deep snow, which I had previously dredged through, back to the parking lot and back to the safety of her car. My friend was trailing behind me at a slower pace. I was still laughing uncontrollably when I opened her passenger car door and ducked under the dash. We could hear the owner of the house holler from her front door,
“Are you the people who were in my house?”
My friend apologized and said she thought it belonged to a friend and she was sorry.
We did eventually find the house, which was only a few houses over. After the party my friend thought it would be nice to bring over some cookies and apologize again. I was not in agreement but followed behind her. My thought, let bygones be bygones.
We knocked this time and an elderly lady, in her pjs and pulling an oxygen tank behind her opened the door. As my friend apologized again offering her a peace-offering of cookies she also asked if she knew Jesus. The lady said she did, but she had to stay at home these days because of her health and the weather. She watched on TV or online but didn’t have many visitors. I suddenly remembered that tiny frail woman in Nevada who longed for companionship, who was deeply touched when I prayed for her.
My aloofness turned into compassionate boldness. This was my opportunity to pray. After getting her permission, I came into her home (invited). I held her hand as I began to pray. This was an individual whom God loves and did not forget but I felt the weight of loneliness surround her. Tears filled her lonely eyes, and she thanked us.
What is the takeaway from this? For me there are many things.
- There are a lot of people in this world…a lot of people going through heartaches. I hope to return and visit this lady, and that is our plan. We NEED one another. Look for opportunities to spread hope.
- Be ready in season and out as found in 2 Timothy 4:2 ” Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” (NIV)
- When or if you make a mistake, ask for forgiveness and move on. I would have loved to return to the lady at the door in Nevada. But, though I didn’t I believe God still comforted her, but I missed out on the blessing.
- 1 Corinthians 1:27 sure comes in play. “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (NLT) Both of us looked so foolish but in the end the lady was blessed.
Know this: If he can use me, he sure can use you. Be ready.