Shouts, Stairs, and Tear Stains

“Where’s my phone? . . . Ugh, I left it in my car.”

Relief would elude me a little longer at the end of this 11 hour day of teaching and a trip to Whole Foods. Having just gotten back to my apartment, I turned right around and exited the door. There was a racket coming from down the hall, as a woman and man sat talking loudly outside a door. She was wearing a white tank top, and the guy was dressed in similarly casual clothes. He leaned on his doorpost as the woman stood firmly on his doormat. I hunched at the outside of my door and turned the key in the lock gingerly until the ock echoed down the hallway.

I try to meet my neighbors any time I move into a new place, but it didn’t seem like a good time to introduce myself to those two.

I started toward the stairs, and a stocky, light-skinned black woman turned to go the opposite way. Ah, I thought, she must live in the apartment across me down the hall—here’s my chance. I approached the woman. “Hi, I just moved in. My name is Grant.”

“Hi, I’m Gaea.” She was probably in her late twenties or early thirties.

I began the small talk of where she was from, etc, but she seemed in a hurry. “Sorry, I’ve got a headache.”

I’ll take any opening. “Well, I’m a praying man, so I’ll say a prayer for you.”

“Thanks . . . You don’t know how much that means right now.”

Yet I could tell she was in a hurry to get in her apartment, so I didn’t try to pray on the spot for her. I proceeded down the stairs and began to pray under my breath. As I found myself in an afternoon sunset, I got in my car and began to ask the Lord to reveal His love to her, etc. The Lord has lately been revealing to me the beauty in all people.

After a few sweet minutes of prayer, I got out of my car to go back in . . . and nearly forgot my cell phone again. Approaching the apartment building, shouts echoed off the stark concrete walls. As I summited the stairs, I saw Mr. and Ms. Discussion had turned into Mr. and Ms. Argument, with the woman flailing about with curse words about all she is going through in her life. The man was slumped meekly against the wall. I didn’t make eye contact and wanted to get in my room as fast as possible.

There was a knock on the door. I swung it open, and Gaea was there, tear stains shining on her caramel cheeks. She explained, “I’ve been going through transitions in my life, and was feeling overwhelmed sitting in my car. That’s why I was in a hurry to get in my apartment.” I thought how this must be a bigger deal than a simple headache. She continued, “You know, it’s hard trying to change from not living in faith, being rude to people . . . You don’t know how much it means that, at that moment, you came and offered to pray for me. It meant so much.”

Tears continued to gush as she talked more about her situation and all she has been going through in her life. Her blurry red eyes told of a deep pain and a deeper touch from GOD. This time, I prayed for her on the spot, and the tears surged again as I was led to prophesy the LORD would use her to reach her family and other people in her network.

I gave her a big hug, and she ended with a simple, “I just wanted to tell you thank you.”

Turning to go back in my apartment, I saw the storm still raging between the young man and woman just down the hall. What a juxtaposition—one woman receives peace from GOD, while another erupts in strife. Clearly, two kingdoms are at war in close quarters at this apartment complex.

I began to reflect. I don’t think the Lord has ever used me to affect someone so deeply by doing so little. It’s humbling. In the Kingdom, the most important ability to have is availability. At any time, any moment, the LORD can use a man or woman who is doing their normal thing, work, getting groceries, filled with the Spirit, ready to take a little risk.

Stay radiant, my friends. initials

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