Take Time to Listen

A few weeks ago, at the hilt of the family crisis we’ve been dealing with, I found myself being super irritated, judgey, and impatient in my heart about the clerk at Walmart.

I was in a huge rush, trying to pick up some things to help my mom, as well as dinner to take to her at the rehabilitation hospital as she recovered from emergency surgery. The check out lady was scanning every single one of the 100 items two people in front of me at the rate of a snail. Then she did the same with the people in front of me. And then…when it was my turn, she didn’t even welcome me. Instead, she turned around to the person in the line behind her and said, “Hello! How are you doing today?!”

Trying to keep my cool & my witness, I finally said in the kindest voice I could muster through my irritation, “Hi. How are you doing today?”
“I’m great,” she replied. “I just feel like I should acknowledge everyone. I have an aunt who was in their situation.”

The person she was pausing to welcome instead of me was mentally disabled, confined to a wheelchair and the person pushing her. And while I was busy being aggravated thinking about my own woes, that lady was busy giving dignity, value, & a smile to the lady whom many overlook.

Eventually the checkout lady asked how my day was going. I explained it was actually a very tough day because my mom was still recovering in the hospital & the items I was buying were to help take care of a lot of the needs she was experiencing.

“I am so sorry. I always think of Job when I hear of stories like yours. I know what it’s like to go through suffering. For me, it started when I was 12,” she opened up.

Suddenly, I wasn’t in a hurry any more. “Oh yeah? Tell me about that.”
She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. And as if that wasn’t enough, during the surgery to remove it, she had an aneurism because the doctor accidentally left a cotton ball inside her head.

“My friends always ask me, ‘Aren’t you mad at God for all He’s made you go through?!’ and I tell them, ‘No, I’m not mad at Him. If it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t even have breath. He’s given me a testimony and I don’t want to waste it.’”

We exchanged more testimonies of God’s faithfulness through our sufferings and the value of Philippians 4:12-13.

I asked her her name. Courtney.

“Courtney, you’ve totally brought encouragement that I desperately needed to my day. Thank you for not wasting your platform. God has given you a tremendous one in this check out line. Please keep using it for His glory.”
“Well, I always say that if people have time to listen, I’ll tell my story.”
I often pray for the Lord to un-rush my soul. He did in that moment. I had important things to attend to in that moment to be sure. But God has even more important things to attend to in my soul.

Take time to listen. God has something He wants to say to you today. It will never stray from His Word and the reminders can come from some of the most unlikely of living parables and preachers.

Do you have a story of hearing something that lined up with God’s Word in an unusual place? Share it in the comments.

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