For three days, I’ve been bursting to tell you this story. It’s that good.
It happened on Friday. That day, the rush of our school morning routine came to a screeching halt when I opened the garage door to a view that stopped me in my tracks. I opened the garage door to see the most vibrantly-colored rainbow, set against the slate blue of a rainy day sky. This wasn’t just any rainbow, either. The whole thing–from end to end–was visible right there in front of me. Without regard to the clock, I stepped out of the car and took a photo with my phone. And then–as Jayce and I waited for his bus–I posted the picture on Facebook.
Fridays are my grocery shopping day. Because I have to visit several different stores and drive a significant distance to do so, it’s pretty much an all-day event. As I drove into town last Friday, my thoughts gravitated to a neighbor.
I recently chaperoned a field trip for Jayce’s class. Also on hand that day was a neighbor woman who I know only from brief conversations at the bus stop. A Mexican native, Spanish is her first language. Our conversations have always been somewhat strained by her broken English. That day was no different. We made small talk about the weather, the school, our neighborhood–the common ground between us. As is typically the case, the conversation died out quickly and we ended up standing in silence as we waited in line for our class to be called into the science center. After a few minutes of quiet, she leaned over and said something I never would have expected. I’m scared because I found a lump in my breast.
I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I felt moved to delve deeper because–clearly–she needed someone to talk to. I asked questions about the situation and she answered as best she could. I came to find that she was scheduled for a biopsy–one that she would go to Mexico for because it was more affordable. She also confided that her husband had recently left her and filed for a legal separation. Oh, and my heart just went out to her. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be so suddenly alone and in need. In the end, all I could offer was the assurance that I would pray for her and that she could come to me for any support I might be able to provide.
Back to my Friday errand day. Excited for the excuse to wear them, I donned my new rain boots and rain coat for the blustery day. I loaded my things into the car and set out for the thirty-minute drive into town. As I drove, the neighbor lady pressed on my heart. I turned the radio down right then and there and prayed aloud in circles around her. I prayed that if it is His will, God would deliver her from this storm and spare her from cancer. And also that he would restore her marriage and bring peace to her life. Lastly, I prayed that He would use me. Taking a cue from my Revelation study, I very intentionally prayed that he would reveal to me the way in which I could be most helpful to her. I really focused that prayer on asking God to show me the way I could offer the most valued support.
With that prayer offered, I went back to my errands. I made a handful of stops, picking up groceries and goodies for my redecorating project. And then, when least I expected it, my prayer was answered in the most tangible, inexplicable way. As I left the craft store and was just about to step off the curb into the parking lot, there came a gust of swirling wind. Within that gust of wind was typical debris–leaves and brush and little scraps of paper. But also there was cash. As in, cash money blowing right past me in the wind. Without a second thought, I chased after it, grabbing as much of it as I could, though admittedly some of it got away. I was, though, able to retrieve two five dollar bills, one ten and one twenty. I was this close to nabbing another five, but it swirled away in the wind seconds before I my fingers reached it. With the cash wadded into my fist, I stood up and looked around, sure that the wind had blown the cash from someone nearby and he or she would be chasing it down. You can imagine my surprise, then, when the only other lady in the parking lot watched me scoop up the last of it and then casually proceeded to walk into the store, no questions asked.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the adrenaline buzzing through me. It’s not every day, after all, that one finds herself in a windstorm of cash with nobody around to claim it. As I counted, I became giddy with the possibilities. Forty dollars would buy some of the colorful pillows I wanted for my living room makeover, or that vintage clock I’d been admiring at Home Goods.
But then I remembered. I remembered how I’d so specifically asked God to reveal to me the best way to help my neighbor. And truly I cannot tell you how humbled I was when I realized that this crazy–and quite literal–windfall of cash was more than just my lucky day. It was, in fact, a very precise answer to my prayer. I mean, seriously, how many times have you had cash blow past you in the wind? Especially so close on the heels of a prayer in which you ask for a sign?
I went about the rest of my business in town that day before heading home. I stopped the street before mine, though, and pulled into my neighbor’s drive. I rang her doorbell and when she invited me in, I went a mile-a-minute, spilling the details of my story. When I finished, I reached out my hand to give her the money but she wouldn’t take it. And so I set it on her table and told her point blank that I was not in the habit of disobeying so direct a command from God. Are you Christian? she asked.
Oh, indeed. Indeed.
She hugged me–so tight–for a long minute before stepping back and telling a story of her own.
As it turns out, her biopsy came back malignant. But, not entirely trusting the Mexican doctor, she has decided to go for a second opinion locally, in spite of the fact that she can’t afford to do so. I know forty dollars isn’t a solution. But it’s a start. Moreover, I’ll never know whether what she really needed was just the knowledge that somebody cares. The assurance that I meant it when I said she could turn to me for help. I’ll never know whether what she needed at that moment was the forty dollars or just me, saying I care. God knows. And I trust that he acted accordingly.
As I was leaving her house that day, my neighbor asked that I pray for her in church. My name is Gabbie, she said, so that we could pray for her by name. Maybe you could, too?