Last week, God sent me an angel. Not one with wings, but one in flesh and blood. I’ve been praying a lot lately for God’s guidance for this time in my life and where it is that God wants me to go and what I am to do in the next chapter of my ministry. I keep pleading for God’s assurance and God’s direction.
On Wednesday, I went to the monthly pastor’s prayer meeting. We gather for an hour each month, hosted by different churches, just to pray. It’s not political. There’s no “agenda”. Our purpose is to praise God (we begin with worship) and to pray—for each other, for our ministries, for our valley, and for whatever else God places on our hearts.
This month, we gathered at The Sanctuary. And when I walked in there were 4 new people, primarily Spanish speaking. Normally, I don’t go around greeting folks, I just sort of keep to myself, but I thought, being Spanish speakers (in a largely English speaking group) and being new, I should greet them and introduce myself. So I did. I met two women first, and shook their hands, then a man, then another woman, who hugged me as she said hello. I took a step back from the third woman and the first gave me a side hug and then embraced me further. She just kept holding me. I’m naturally a physically affectionate person, so it didn’t seem odd to me. Even as she continued to hold me, I was nonplussed. It was a God thing. She embraced me, rubbed my back and whispered assurances into my ear. I focused on being present in the moment and receiving whatever it was that God wanted for me. I could feel something inside sort of break loose and break open. It wasn’t painful, but it was real. I don’t know what broke…I hoped it was pain or unforgiveness. And this woman kept on holding me. She said “Dios te ama mucho.” (God loves you very much).
She pulled away slightly and reiterated that God loves me very much. She said that the hug wasn’t from her, but from God. God wanted me to know how much God loves me. And she embraced me again. She continued to hold me gently and reiterated God’s love, again. She said “God has great plans for you, and for your family.”
It was such a gift—both the hug and the affirmations, but also her faithfulness and willingness to heed God’s guiding. She could have just given me a quick embrace, or ignored that nudge entirely, but instead, she listened to what God was instructing her to do…not for her benefit, but for mine—a complete stranger. And God gave me just what I needed…a hug full of affirmation and love for who I am and what God is doing in my life.