While in Ireland several years ago, I was sleeping on a train traveling from Dublin to Kilkenny. Tired from the journey, I had no intention of doing ministry at that moment. As I rested, however, I sensed someone was watching me. I cracked open one eye only to see two little Irish eyes staring intently back at me.
“Are you goin’ to Kilkenny, then?” the little ginger-haired girl inquired.
“Yes,” I replied, slightly annoyed.
“Do you live in Kilkenny?” she persisted.
(Realizing the Lord was up to something, I slowly woke up.)
“No, I live in America.”
“America! What’s it like to live in America?” she exclaimed, eyes sparkling.
Reaching into my purse, I pulled out my phone and showed her photographic evidence of my life on the other side of the ocean. We spoke about children and pets, houses and horses, and as we chatted, a loud voice interrupted us from the other end of the train car.
“Elena! Leave the woman alone!”
Obviously drunk with a beer can in her hand, the child’s mother continued to yell at Elena until I politely explained that the girl was doing no harm. As Elena stayed near me with just a hint of fear showing, her mother slowly made her way closer until she, too, was looking at my pictures and listening to stories about life in Michigan. It wasn’t long before the conductor announced my stop and I rose to get my violin and bags.
“Let me help you,” Elena’s mother offered.
Awkwardly, the three of us staggered to the coach door as the train slowed. Tears sprang to the drunk woman’s eyes as she handed me my bag.
“I don’t even know you . . . but I feel like you’re my friend,” she said.
Smiling through tears that now flowed down my cheeks as well, I looked into her eyes. “My name is Jean and I am your friend! May I pray with you before I go?”
Suddenly embarrassed, she lowered her eyes. “Alright,” she agreed.
And so with one hand on Elena and the other on her hurting mama, I prayed. Thanking Him for allowing us to meet, I asked God to reveal His love to them. The whole encounter took less than twenty minutes, and no religious words were ever exchanged—just love shared with two hurting souls on an Irish train. I knew I would probably never see my new friends again, but joy overflowed as I realized I had just seen a little piece of the kingdom of heaven come to earth.
Jesus’ presence was so full of the power and love of God that words weren’t necessary. His love spontaneously touched the human condition and brought life where there was only death. Through physical contact with Jesus, people were comforted, healed, saved, and set free.
Now through the Lord’s death and resurrection, we have become the body of Christ. As we learn to live in the awareness of God’s presence, the atmosphere around us will be affected. When people encounter us, they will encounter Jesus!
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. (2 Cor. 2:15)
Sometimes our most powerful witness for Christ comes as we just silently love those in front of us. Our job as Christians is to simply listen to the Holy Spirit and be sensitive to His promptings. How will people come to know God unless they first experience His love? May we be willing vessels through which He can touch our hurting world.
Lord, help me be aware of Your presence and sensitive to the leading of Your spirit. I yield myself completely to You and pray that You will love those around me through my hands, my words, and my prayers. May others come to know You through me! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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