It’s the little things that can lead a person to Christ
Speaking to a friend recently, they told me a beautiful story of how a young girl came to faith in Jesus Christ… all because of a family who said grace in a restaurant and then turned around and gave her a smile. :o
To protect her identity, let’s call her Susie.
Susie walked down the street this particular day, past a family of her own faith. She didn’t know them. They scowled at her. Now living in a western country, Susie was dressed modestly, but not in her traditional dress.
She thought to herself, ‘Why would I want to be like that? Why would I want to be like them?’
She continued on down the street, entered a café / restaurant and sat down. She had been thinking about the whole Christian faith thing anyway. You see, she had met this boy. He had invited her to church once. She had gone with him and when they had walked in the door, Susie had ‘accidentally’ met up with another girl she sometimes worked with. Susie had no idea that her work mate was a Christian and found herself wrapped up in a warm hug. They had been delighted to see her and introduced her around. It had been a positive experience…
…until she got home! Susie’s parents were very angry with Susie. Wanting to honour her parents and not wanting to upset them further, she hadn’t dared go back to church for several months.
Even though Susie was an adult, her parents had also informed her that she could not move out of home until she got married or could buy her own place. Knowing that Susie was a university student, they thought they were pretty safe. Susie worked feverishly at several part time jobs, as well as studying; and twelve months later, shocked her open-mouthed parents by declaring that she had, in fact, managed to buy her own place and was now able to move out. Her father was very angry and threatened to come to her workplace and make such a problem for her there, that she would be fired from her job and be forced to move back home.
So, while Susie is sitting down in the café this day, thinking about all this and the family that had just scowled at her, she happened to notice another family sitting near by. Susie watched them while they said grace and enjoyed their meal together. She could tell that they were from New Zealand. When they finished their meal, the lady turned around to get her coat and smiled at Susie. The Holy Spirit had been at work in Susie’s heart. She left the restaurant in tears and sobbed all the way home. Her own people had scowled at her. This other family – and no doubt her boyfriend’s family too – had shown her kindness and love.
She said to herself, “That’s what I want to be like. I want to be like them.”
Still in tears, she rang her boyfriend, the one who had invited her to church. His protective instincts aroused, he rushed over, not sure what he would find… and led her to Jesus.
Wow! What a story. I wiped away a tear after hearing it. Whoever realised the power of a smile. And I guess it was the saying grace that identified them as being Christian. That New Zealand family will never know, until they get to Heaven, how God used them that day. So how did my friend know about this? The boy is her son. He loves Susie and wants to marry her. Their next hurdle is to tell Susie’s family that she has become a Christian… and that they want to get married. Neither news will be welcome to her family. My friend has asked me to pray. Will you whisper a prayer for Susie, too?
And today I was listening to someone describe their experience after moving to a new area. Let’s call her Brenda. With two small children; post-natal depression; and being miles away from her family and friends; and feeling pretty miserable about it all, Brenda would hear laughter coming from her neighbours’ place over the road. She watched them for several months and wondered how come they were always ‘so happy’. One day, on her way out, the lady was in the garden and stopped to chat. She asked Brenda how she was liking living in… (name of town).
Without stopping to think, Brenda blurted out, “I hate it!”
That afternoon, there was a peach pie on her back porch. These people invited them into their lives and hearts… and eventually introduced them to Jesus. Brenda and her husband are now serving in full time Christian ministry. Whoever realised the power of a smile and a simple act of kindness.
Have you ever experienced the power of a smile in your own life? I know I have. I was walking down the street one day and was desperately in need of a smile; and a little toddler – out in the garden with his grandfather – tugged his grandfather’s sleeve and wanted to be lifted up above the waist-high picket fence, so that he could ‘wave at the lady’ walking past. They will never know it, but this simple kindness left me in tears that particular day, too. I whispered a prayer that the Lord would bless them. It was truly a touch from the hand of God.
So be on the lookout… there is someone out there who needs a smile from you today. Maybe some kindness. An invitation into your family. Or a peach pie. :) Be the hands and feet of Jesus to all those you come into contact with. And you just never know how God will use it.
UPDATE ON ‘SUSIE’ January 2015 – I received this note from my friend: ‘Just letting you know that [Susie] still hasn’t told her parents about her becoming a Christian, however, she was baptised tonight at our pastor’s house (he has a pool) – very impromptu, and very sincere. She sent me a beautiful text explaining what led up to it. We were so thrilled that [our son] let us know about it (at about 9:05pm!!) so that we could go and be a part of it. Thanks for your prayers.’
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