I had never before embraced a perfect stranger without exchanging a word.
As I left McDonald’s at Vanderbilt hospital that Sunday morning she stood just inside the door, a small bag with breakfast in one hand, a few coins in the other. Her face showed defeat and helplessness; unfettered tears slid down her face. I felt drawn to her, feeling her pain. I wrapped my arms around her and held her while she cried.
Her daughters, she explained, had been in an auto accident. The older girl was unharmed but the younger had a broken back. She’d been air-lifted from Kentucky two days ago, the same day my daughter had arrived in the same fashion. Her daughter was stable but in unquenchable pain and this woman had thought only of her daughter until that moment. Her husband just headed home, unintentionally leaving her with only a few dollars. She thought this small breakfast would be her last meal for the week.
But it wouldn’t, because the God who provided manna and loaves and fishes had provided for us as well. She just didn’t know it yet.
My own daughter at that moment was upstairs in the ICU. She and my son had been on the way home when their school bus crashed on a wet road. My son suffered minor physical damage but my daughter fared much worse with a life-threatening open brain injury. Remarkably, she was still breathing but hadn’t woken up.
Like the mom in McDonald’s, I had thought only of my children. But Father God thought also of me and sent friends and strangers to the rescue. They slipped change in my pockets for vending machines, brought entire meals and colorful bags of snacks, sack lunches, fruits and candies. . .
It was bittersweet joy to see the relief on my new friend’s face as I told her of God’s provision, that there was more than enough for her, too. God remembered our needs when we couldn’t, in a way I’ll never forget. We are told He will “never leave us nor forsake us”, and I know it’s true.
Prayer: Thank you precious God, for taking care of us when we’re so hurt we can’t do it ourselves, for showing Your love all the time.
About the Author:
Sally Rowland lives with her husband and two teenage children in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains where she produces entertainment at a local tourist attraction. She relishes family time as well as solitary pursuits like reading and sneaking naps. She strongly admires her daughter for her bravery and resilience in dealing with the disabling effects of a traumatic brain injury.
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Have you known the joy of God’s provision when you were in deep despair? Will you share your experience?