The Food Store Experience

“I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.” (Psalm 3:4)

Does God answer prayer? Recently, I had just one prayer. “Lord, help me!” I repeated the words over and over again. I felt like a sinking ship.

I was at the food store at the time. It was so simple. It was real. I prayed. And then I did my shopping, which took me twenty minutes or so. And I stood in line at the checkout counter. Then I thought of picking up just one more item and turned around and there was my friend Patrick standing right in front of me!

Patrick asked me, “So how are you?”

“Rotten!” was the answer.

Now Patrick works not far from that store BUT he was about five miles AWAY from the store driving in the opposite direction (to go home) when … suddenly, at about the EXACT same time as I was praying — twenty minutes earlier — he suddenly “remembered” that, earlier on in the day, he had intended to pick up something from the food store! And instead of driving to the closer store which was, in fact, on the way home, for “some reason” he decided to swing back to the familiar store near his office. And that’s where I was, praying to God for help!

When I shared with him my need, Patrick said, “It’s not by accident the Lord brought me to this store at this time.”

Needless to say, God did something special that day. Patrick prayed for me. And it made a very definite and noticeable difference. The Lord lifted the heaviness that I was experiencing and brought joy into my heart once again … all through a friend, and a simple heart cry, “Lord, help me!”

You see friends, sometimes it’s just hard to do on your own! We need friends. We need each other! We need guys like Patrick to come along and say, “So how are you?” … and mean it. We need to be ready for the other person’s response, too, which might be, “Rotten!” In my case, it was indeed, “Rotten!” But fortunately, Patrick knew what to do. He was a sensitive person, and was always ready, willing, and desiring to help. He knew that a hug was important. And he gave me one. He also knew that prayer was even more important. And Patrick would NOT let me go, until he had prayed for me! Persistence in loving … a sign of a true friend!

God in his wisdom permits us to “struggle” sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he has not left us without a way out. The Bible says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].” (1 Corinthians 10:13) That means that in WHATEVER situation we may find ourselves in, there IS an answer and that answer is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.

What are you struggling with today? Is it an emotional burden? Spiritual warfare? Marital problems? Relationship issues? Financial issues? As Christians, we may not have all the answers, but we know who does! Like me that day, you may also not quite know “how” to pray for your need. Here’s a way to start, “Lord, help me!” For some of you, that may be as far as you get … and it may even be enough.

We may also not quite understand why we have to struggle sometimes, but here is something that is always a sure thing. When we cry out to God in our distress, and then see his answer, it brings glory to God and helps us to see our dependence upon him. This is a good thing, because the independent person who says he does not “need” God will not see God in the end, and will live a life separated from God, for all eternity. Don’t be afraid to let others see your dependence upon God. As they do, it just may speak to them about their own needs, as well.

Praise the Lord! He does all things well! Thank him when you get past one trial. And don’t be surprised when the next one comes!

Have you cried out to God lately and expressed to him your deepest sorrows and your heartfelt needs? Sometimes, it can be as simple as saying, “Lord, help me!” from the very bottom of your heart. I know. I’ve been there!