I’m scratching it out, pen in hand, heart scrolling in cursive and ink across the pages of an Italian leather journal, green, embossed with leaves. Head bent over the mug, I look up. And there they are.
I’ve learned to pick them out. These “folks of a certain age,” they stroll in early, usually packing laptops to surf the ‘net and check email as they eat a leisurely breakfast.
They’re in town to have their RV fixed at a local factory.
“You’re sure writing a lot,” he says, turning in his high wooden stool. His smile is friendly. I smile back. And then she sees it.
“I just love your purse.” Her soft southern drawl is charming. I stop for a minute beside their table, BOP (Bright Orange Purse) on my shoulder. I’m smiling big.
“Me, too. In fact, I got a whole column out of the ‘purse’ thing.” And there we go, hearts connecting through the things girls love.
I have a friend.
Scootching back up onto my high stool, I open my girlish notebook and go to work. I glance up. She’s looking at me. And all at once, words pour forth from this stranger-turned-friend. I’m stunned. Speechless. She can’t know. She can’t possibly know.
It’s God. He’s speaking. He’s come for me with a message from the lips of a perfect stranger. Who doesn’t know, but she knows Him and He knows me, and that’s all there is.
Tears rain down. I should remove my shoes. This is holy ground, this tiny table right here, that tiny table just there. It’s God. He knows, and He’s come.
Worship. Awe. Amazement. He doesn’t always reveal Himself like this, but on this day, He has. And the message is huge.
Looking at her, face suffused with a holy glow, I have to ask it. “What is your background?”
Once more, she speaks. “I was an atheist. I was walking in the desert one day, and I said, ‘I want to know the truth. Show me the truth!’”
I’m riveted by her words, by the pictures they bring. Her, defiant, searching in a place of heat, drought and lack.
“He called my name. He knew my name! And I said, ‘Who are you?’”
“He said, ‘Jesus.’ And I said, ‘I don’t believe it!’” There’s shock, incredulity in her voice, even now, all this time later. There’s joy.
Oh, there’s joy today to know this true thing: He knows my name. He knows her name, and He knows yours, too.
He knows our names, and He comes for us in desert heat, in fields of green, on paths alone. He comes.
Jesus loves me, this I know. Jesus knows me. This, I love.