Monday, August 26, 2013

Thanks Ruth! It was a perfect seat!

(Some names/churches have been changed to protect most of the guilty.)

"Save me a seat," I yelled at Ruth as she left to go get breakfast, "I'll be there in a few minutes."  Ruth is a sweet lady from church and I've enjoyed getting to know her over the last couple of years. We were both attending a ladies retreat together and having a good time of fellowship and growing in the Lord.  At bedtime the night before, I shared a devotion with our little ladies group on friendship, emphasizing the importance of having spiritual friends that would pray, strengthen, and encourage and the importance of being that same kind of friend to others.  Little did I know........

Breakfast was still a few minutes away from being served and Ruth was waiting for me when I reached the cafeteria.  She was saving the seat beside her especially for me.  I sat down and started visiting with her when the lady on my right starting talking to me.   She was an older lady and immediately asked me what church I was from.  I told her Southwest Baptist Church.  "Oh," she said, "I know the pastor, Dav, Davi, Davison, what's his name?"  I told her our pastor used to be Sam Davison.  "Oh yes, Sam Davison.  And his wife, what's her name?"  I told her Sandy.  "Well my name is Sue, S-U-E.  Sue Jacobs. S-U-E  J-A-C-O-B-S.  Would you please tell Bro. Sam I said hello.  He will remember me.  Well, my last name wasn't Jacobs then.  It was Roberts.  Tell Bro. Sam Sue Roberts said hello. S-U-E  R-O-B-E-R-T-S.  Of course, Sue is my middle name.  He would probably know me more by my first name, Evelyn. E-V-E-L-Y-N.  Tell him Evelyn Roberts said hello.  And tell his sweet wife also.  I used to be married to my first husband, Charles, until he passed away.  Then I met Richard about 7 years ago and we got married.  That's why my name is different now.  They wouldn't know Richard but Charles and I used to go hear Bro. Sam preached and he preached several revivals at our church.   I go to Bible Baptist Church and I play the piano.  Well I used to play the piano for them.  I play the piano for them on Wednesday nights and I play the piano over at First Baptist Church on Sundays.  That Bible Baptist Church likes to play canned music so they're squeezing me out of playing.  I used to play on Sundays for them but not anymore.   They're not very friendly over at that church.  But that First Baptist Church, they just act like they're always glad to see me.  Do you ever feel that way?  You can just walk into a church and you know right away if someone is glad to see you or not!" 

And so it went.

Sue was quite the character.  I honestly don't think I've ever met someone who could talk as much as Sue, S-U-E,  Jacobs.  She didn't even need to breathe.  I think she was just circular breathing.   At one point, I leaned to my friend, Ruth, and simply stated, "Thanks alot!"  "You're welcome," she stated ever so innocently.

After what seemed like an eternity, we were allowed to get in line for breakfast.  I stood and sweetly told Sue we needed to get in line.  She kept talking and I kept taking a few steps in the other direction trying to politely leave the one-sided conversation.  After I returned to our table, I tried to switch seats with Ruth.  Let Ruth sit by Crazy, C-R-A-Z-Y, Sue.  She's the one that saved the seat!  Let me be very clear on this-- for a little woman, Ruth is very perceptive, agile, and strong.  I'm pretty sure she pushed me.  Yep!  Now that I think back, she pushed me.  As a matter of fact,  I probably have a bruise because of it!  I think I need a new friend.  Wait a minute......S-U-E.........I better keep Ruth!

During breakfast, I really don't know how Sue ate anything.  I tried introducing her to people across the table.  She was quite friendly and cordial but she kept coming back to me.  All I could do was nod my head like a bobble doll and utter a few "hmm" "ahmm" or however affirmations are written!  By the time I was able to excuse myself from the table, I was weighed down with a boatload of prayer requests.  Sue asked me to pray for her.....and pray for her husband, Richard, R-I-C-H-A-R-D (I can remember that, Richard is my husband's name also)  he has cancer and doesn't feel well plus pray for the insurance that doesn't want to pay for his treatments.....he didn't go to church and wasn't always happy about how involved she wanted to be in church....and her bowel troubles with diverticulitis (I'll spare you the details.  After all, I just ate breakfast!).......pray for her eyes, she has a eye appointment because her retina is detaching and she might not be able to see out of her eye.....pray for Bible Baptist Church that they would quit using canned music so she could play the piano....pray for her strength that she would be able to continue doing the things she wants to do.......

What do you do when someone, not to mention a virtual stranger,  piles a bunch of prayer requests on you like that?  I thought about my pastor's wife and wondered what she does as people walk by and she hugs them and they ask her to pray for....fill-in-the-blank.  I thought about the times that even I have asked her to pray with me about.....fill-in-the-blank.  I bet her prayer request book is H-U-G-E!!!

Several years ago, I went on a mission trip with a group of people that I did not know.  One lady, Ruby, was "sharing" with me about a woman in her church that was a thorn in her flesh.  She did not care one whit about this gossiping, backbiting, and spiteful woman.  In an attempt to help her, I gently suggested that she pray for this woman.  Her reply?  "I ain't got room in my prayer life to squeeze in this woman!!!"  I laughed really hard when she said that but for the first time since that story was told, I could kind of understand what Ruby meant. 

I have to admit (head hung), at that time, I never did agree to pray for Sue.  That's something I take very seriously!  If I agree to pray for Sue then I better mean it!  I'm obligated before God.  Right!?!  Plus that was ALOT of prayer requests!   I thought about the friend devotion the night before and was reminded (by Ruth aka Miss C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N) that I had been asking God to help me be a friend to someone who needs a friend.  Again....thanks Ruth!   The psalmist in Psalms 142:4b said No man cared for my soul.  In Luke 5:17-20 the paralytic man had friends carry him to Jesus.  Did Sue have any friends who cared?  Did Sue have any friends to carry her cot of burdens to Jesus?  Was God asking ME to be Sue's spiritual friend? Was I willing to be used of God to show His love to her? Was I willing to be Sue's friend EVEN IF our friendship was limited to a saved seat during breakfast?

In the end, all that really mattered was Sue asked for prayer.  She had burdens that she needed someone to bear with her.  I don't know that I'll ever see Sue, S-U-E, Jacobs again this side of Heaven.  BUT since meeting her, I have made room to  "squeezed her into my prayer life."   Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone reading this would take a moment to pray for Sue and her husband, Richard.   Maybe today, she'll be encouraged in her walk with the Lord.  I hope today you will be a friend to someone you love.  I also hope today you will allow God to use you to be a friend to someone HE loves.

John 15:13-14  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Just want to say "thank you" Ruth for saving me a seat at breakfast.  It was perfect place to sit!  Give me call sometime, friend.  I have a few prayer requests I'd like to share.

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