WEEK 3: He Cares About the One, Intimately!
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?” Luke 15: 4 (The Message)
The young woman I had befriended on the bus was engaged to be married, but her fiancé was back home, unable to take leave with her. She was very much looking forward to receiving a letter from him when we arrived at our next destination. This was in the days before email – ‘snail mail’ could be sent to a post office marked ‘post restante’ and held in the general mail until the recipient arrived. So we arrived in Cairns with much expectation. We were booked in at a hostel, but at the bus depot, there were various backpackers’ representatives looking for potential clients. One fellow passed me his business card despite me saying we already had a place. It was to come in very useful later. We checked into our hostel which was very full, with our room housing ten! But all we could think about was getting to the post office for that much-anticipated letter.
The letter had arrived. She eagerly began to read. I tried to give her some privacy and wondered off a short distance. Instead of great excitement, I watched as her world disintegrated around her. He had broken up with her, in a letter. She fell apart, and I didn’t know what to do. I had no relationship experience, no sage advice or wisdom to offer. I felt completely inadequate and began to pray and ask the Lord to help me, so I could help her. All she could think and talk about was finding a bridge and ending things. I didn’t know her well enough to know how earnestly she would pursue such an option, but it made me quite anxious.
I got us back to the hostel, but our room was teeming with people, and there was no privacy or space to talk and process what had just happened. I suddenly remembered the business card given to me earlier. I phoned the guy and asked if they had rooms for two – they did, and he said he would pick us up.
We sat in our twin room for what seemed like hours. She sobbed away on her bed and I sat on mine praying and asking the Lord to help her. I got a strong sense that He was saying to me: “Pray for her.” I responded with: “That’s what I’m doing!” And He said: “Ask her if you can pray for her!” No, that’s okay I thought, I am praying for her, she doesn’t need to know it. But again He said: “Ask her if you can pray for her.” Suddenly, I heard myself asking her: “Can I pray for you?” She immediately responded with: “Please.” I went over and prayed for her. Never before had I seen the Lord visibly touch someone and lift a heavy burden from them, as I saw Him do for her that day. I shared with her from the Word and she shared about how she knew of the Lord, but had gone her own way. Right there in that little backpackers’ room, she invited Him in. Alongside the bed was a Gideon’s Bible, and the owner was happy for us to take it, assuring us they would bring more. I had thought I would need to give her mine, but the Lord had already provided in that way too.
I was reminded through this encounter how the Lord cares for the one, intimately. I often think of the masses who don’t know the Lord. I think about the unfinished task and it seems so huge. But the Lord challenged me one time, asking “What if it is just one?” I had responded that I would go, even if it was just for one. But I immediately reminded the Lord that there are so many. And He said again, “But what if it’s just one?” The Lord told the parable of the one lost sheep, how He leaves the ninety-nine and goes looking for that one. It’s so personal for Him, not simply numbers. And this incident reminded me of how much He cares about the one, intimately. I too then am challenged to see the ‘one’ before me, as He does, and to care about that ‘one’ that He has placed in my life at a particular time.
To be continued…