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Monday, August 31, 2015

God Knows What He's Doing

Pocket Full of Quarters Journey 2015
God Knows What He is Doing

Written In: Sterling, CO
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. John 14;16

"I can't stay here!" I whined to Bob, 1,500 miles away. "This campground is empty, dirty, and they don't have a bath house. They only take cash. The entire place has me nervous." I'd been driving all day through Nebraska. Campgrounds were few and far between. It was dark and the next campground was over an hour away. While the campground I was currently at had no reviews, we already knew that the campground in the next city was across the street from a penitentiary and a smelly stockyard.

"I'll find you a hotel," Bob said.

"I'm too tried to move into a hotel. They're an hour away and I'd have to pack all of my stuff and take it inside. Besides, Shiloh barks at every noise and I won't sleep."

"Cheryle, we don't have a choice. There are no Wal-Marts. You can't stay in either campground. You can't drive several more hours. There is a Best Western 60 miles away." Unfortunately, this Best Western, in the middle of nowhere, was $150. It made me sick to spend our precious few dollars on this but Bob was right.

The hotel was nice enough but checking in was as tiring as I expected. I trudged up and down the stairs to the 2nd floor room carrying personal and dog supplies and Shiloh. I saw a car rush in and pull sideways into a parking place. Two long haired scruffy dirty looking men left the engine running, ran to a door, knocked 3 times, handed a woman money, took a bag, and bolted back to the car, screeching tires as they pulled out. Great, I thought, deciding to keep Bob on the phone as I went in and out.

On my last trip up, I saw 6 young men standing outside talking seriously, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer. They were clean cut and I wasn't frightened but I was aware that I was a lone female outside. It was comforting to know Bob was listening in on my ear bud. Another man walked past and must have been thinking the same thing because he said, "Don't worry. They're good kids. They've just had a hard day."

That was my cue. Standing there loaded down with stuff, with Bob still on the phone, I began a conversation. They'd seen Hallelujah and when I explained what I was doing, one said, "I have a favor to ask. We're here to be groomsmen in a wedding and the bride has cancer. Would you pray for her?"

"Certainly!" I prayed for healing, comfort for their broken hearts, and their ability to still feel joy at the wedding. When I finished, all were crying. I worked my way into a Gospel Conversation. The young man who'd asked for prayer was Jewish. Two went to church, believed, but had no idea where they were going in the next life. The rest were non-believers. As often happens with a group of young men, if the obvious leader of a group decides not to pray, no one else is willing. I left a little discouraged. They thanked me profusely for praying for the bride and them and said the prayer had helped.

The next morning, I ate breakfast with two heavily tattooed bikers on their way to a Harley convention. It was 8 AM and one was already drunk. They listened to the Gospel. The inebriated one on his way to climb on a motorcycle admitted a grandmother was praying for him and that he probably needed prayer but neither wanted to meet Jesus. I couldn't help it - I was disappointed again.

As I left, I passed a hotel employee and thanked her for cleaning for us. It opened the door for She'rae to share her long and twisted religious tale and spiritual confusion. Concerned about her job, I asked if it was OK for her to continue talking. She answered, "I came in early today and I think this conversation must have been the reason why. I'm good. Let's keep talking." You can probably guess that She'rae met Jesus. As I prayed with She'rae, the Jewish young man from the night before passed, stopped to pet Shiloh, gave me a big smile, and listened to She'rae's prayer.

Encouraged, Shiloh and I joyfully walked to the car as I prayed for everyone. Another young woman spotted Shiloh and said, "A dog! Just what I need today. Can I please pet her?"

"Of course!" I said. She quickly sat on the ground, pulled Shiloh into her lap, buried her face in Shiloh's mane and began weeping.

"May I help?" I asked, putting my hand on her shoulder.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm here for my best friend's wedding. I'm her maid of honor and I don't even know if she is going to be well enough to get married."

"Oh," I said. "Emily. I prayed for her last night with the 6 groomsmen."

She gasped, continued crying, and said, "Thank you so much. I can't stand it. She's been sick for so long but we thought that she was finally better so we planned the wedding. She has ovarian cancer. We found out last week that it is back and she only has 6 months to live. We've decided to have the wedding anyway but she was too sick to come to the rehearsal dinner last night."

Emily's best friend was Christian. She said, "That is the only hope I have in this. Emily is a Christian and knows for sure she is going to heaven."

"None of the groomsmen are Christians," I said. "They also are broken hearted. Maybe you and Emily can share Jesus with them."

There in the parking lot, with Emily's best friend crying and cuddling Shiloh, I prayed for all of them - for Emily's healing, for the peace and salvation of Emily's wedding party, that Emily would be well enough to attend her wedding, and that the wedding party would be able to put aside their grief for a day and feel nothing but joy for the wedding.

Emily's best friend stood up, smiled, took a deep breath and said, "Thank you. Now I can be her maid of honor."

The $150 extra cost no longer mattered. My exhaustion from unpacking and packing again lifted. While we'd planned for a campground, God was busy sending His salvation and comfort to the Best Western.

Pray for Emily and her best friend as they lean on Christ and each other through this ordeal. Pray for the groom whom I know nothing about. Pray for the Jewish man who stopped to listen to a salvific prayer. Pray for comfort for all and salvation for the groomsmen. Pray for the new Christian, She'rae. Pray that Shiloh would learn not to bark at every sound in a hotel.

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