Story by Mary Nella McLaughlin
I tried to find an organized prayer event in the city of Stockton where I am but to no avail, so I took off prayer walking on my own. I was almost home when I passed a convenience store and had an urge for coconut water! I have never bought a can of coconut water in my life. I didn’t even know if there was such a thing. I tried to talk myself out of it since I was just three blocks from my house. It would seem that water would be better. But without another thought, I turned and walked into the convenience store.
I looked through all the canned water (How many ways can we come up with to sell water? Amazing variety.) I found my coconut water, advertising ‘chunks of coconut.’ Hmmm, that sounded intriguing.
When I got to the counter there was a young woman ahead of me. She turned to greet me and I said, “How are you?” She hesitated. I told her that I understood that hesitation, for in any given day there were a hundred different ways you could answer that question. She nodded, “That is for sure.”
The cashier greeted her warmly and asked her if she was going to buy her usual sandwich. “No, not today. Today I am just going to take a gulp of this and eat some of that cinnamon toast and then maybe I will be good to go.”
When I looked down at what she was going to take a gulp of, I saw it was a bottle of whiskey.
She smiled at me once again and mumbled, “Well, maybe not a good choice but it works for me.”
When she left, I followed her out.
“Look, I need to tell you something. This is important. No matter what you have done, what you do, or what happens to you – I want you to remember this one thing – God loves you and God will never stop loving you. There is nothing, absolutely nothing you can do to stop God from loving you.”
Instantaneously, she threw her arms around me, “Thank you. Thank you.”
I walked back in the store and asked the woman at the cash register if that young woman indeed came in every day to get a sandwich?
“Yes, she does.”
“How much is her sandwich.” I only had a small wad of one dollar bills in my pocket.
“Four dollars and twenty-five cents.” I pulled out my crumpled bills and gave what I had.
“Look, will you use this to buy her that next sandwich, and when you do, please remind her of how much God loves her.”
The woman nodded and then like a good owner of a convenience store asked, “Would you like a sandwich?”
“Uh, no, thank you. Don’t forget to tell her.”
I bought my coconut water, and wondered, as I left, if the message wasn’t also for the owner? God’s love passed forward touches everyone in the vicinity.
Keep Passing the Love Forward.