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Recently my wife Diana told me of an experience she had, and I got her permission to share it with you in this blog post.

She was showering one morning, and was feeling distant from God when she remembered some words from the December 5th devotional reading in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling:

“Whenever you feel distant from Me, say: ‘Surely the Lord is in this place!’ Then, ask Me to give you awareness of My Presence. This is a prayer that I delight to answer.”

So she prayed, ”Jesus, please show me your presence today.” Although she didn’t know how he would show her his presence, she finished showering and went about getting ready to run some errands that morning.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.42.31 PMTarget had advertised a Christmas ornamental red truck, but she had been unable to find it at several Target stores. She finally went online and found one at the Glendale store and ordered it. Having to pick it up in four days or lose it, she decided to face the early morning traffic to make the trip over to Glendale from our home in Granada Hills.

She showed her ID to the clerk at the service counter of the Glendale Target. When the clerk brought the red truck to her, Diana realized that it was bigger than she had imagined, but it was still very cute with a snowy wreath on the front grill and a snow-covered tree in the truck’s bed.

As she turned to leave the counter, a woman who had been sitting nearby came over to her, and Diana immediately saw that the woman was wearing a Christmas sweater that had a red truck woven on the front that looked just like Diana’s red truck!

“Oh, what a darling truck!” the woman exclaimed at the sight of Diana’s truck.

Diana pointed to the woman’s sweater and said she must have gotten it at Target. The woman said no, that she had had the sweater for many years, as well as an ornamental red truck, although it was slightly different from the design on her sweater or Diana’s truck!

Seeing the eager longing in the woman’s eyes, Diana offered to go and see if the store had another red truck for her. The woman said she’d stay right there at the service counter.

Diana sped off to the Holiday section on the third floor where the truck was supposed to be, but her heart sank when she didn’t see any trucks on the shelf. As she got closer, she was thrilled to see that there was one left—way back against the wall—so she grabbed it and raced to the escalator.

Another shopper on the escalator noticed Diana with the truck and remarked how cute the truck was. When Diana told her about the woman who was waiting to see if there was a red truck for her to match her sweater, the shopper smiled and said she was glad that Diana had found this last truck for the woman.

As Diana returned to the service counter, she was disappointed when she didn’t at first see the woman. But the woman appeared from behind some shoppers and her face broke into a big smile when she saw Diana with the red truck. The woman thanked her again and again for going to the trouble to find it for her, saying that Diana had made her day. Diana told her that it was she who had made Diana’s day with her expression of delight at seeing the truck.

Stella

Stella

The woman hugged Diana and introduced herself as Stella and that she is from the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Diana introduced herself and told her that she is from Granada Hills. When Stella shared that she has family in Granada Hills, and named the street and the house in which the family lives, Diana recognized the house as being about half a mile from our house! Even Los Angeles can be a very small town.

Having overheard the conversation between Diana and Stella, the clerk at the service counter remarked that this meeting was meant to be.

Diana looked at Stella and the beloved red truck in her hand and on her sweater, and told her that she had to take a picture of Stella. She pulled out her cellphone and snapped a couple of poses of Stella, and felt like she had just made a friend. And as Stella said goodbye and thanked Diana a few more times, both women hoped that somehow they would meet again.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 3.36.25 PM

Diana

Diana drove back home, smiling as she thought of Stella and her newly found red truck. Then the thought hit her—Jesus had indeed answered the prayer she had made in the shower. He had been right there in Target orchestrating a divine meeting between two red truck fans. And in that meeting he brought delight and Light into the lives of a group of strangers in a chance meeting that none of them could have created on their own. And they were all blessed through that meeting.

How many times do we feel far away from Jesus, but do not ask him to draw near to us and make us feel his presence?

Diana hopes that we’ll remember to pray the next time we feel alone, because as she learned that day, Jesus’ presence is only a prayer away. And he delights to answer our prayers.

*****

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2011) p. 356.

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