I was a contributor to a women’s devotional book on Proverbs years ago. This post is a re-print of that piece. I’m happy to report that I have upgraded my couch since then.
“Do not withhold good . . .when it is in your power to do it.”
Proverbs 3:37, NASB
Kathryn looked gaunt as she approached me after church. Her normally glistening auburn hair hung listlessly.
“Hi, how are you?” I said.
“Not well at all,” she said quietly, her voice quavering slightly.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, shifting uncomfortably.
“My new job hasn’t worked out. I have to be out of my apartment by Friday, and I have no place to stay.” She looked at me with a glimmer of hope.
“Oh, that’s too bad. I’m really sorry,” I said, just as another friend interrupted our conversation.
All evening Kathryn remained on my mind. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me. “I have presented you with a need, and you have the means to help.” It was true. I did live alone, and Kathryn could sleep on my garage-sale couch until she found an alternative.
It seemed odd, though, that I would be the one to help. Kathryn and I had never hit it off, and had even competed for the attention of the same young man.
Still, I felt compelled to act, so I invited her over. “Here’s where you’ll sleep,” I said, motioning to the turquoise couch.
Kathryn gratefully sank into one of the snagged cushions. It absorbed many tears her first sleepless night. I didn’t know what to say to help her, so I simply listened as she talked for hours. As the days passed, I maintained my daily routine as much as possible. Kathryn observed me cook healthy meals, spend time reading God’s Word, and keep my home and personal appearance neat.
I never directly confronted issues in her life. Yet daily she gained emotional and spiritual strength. Soon the couch cushions dried and the TV rested from its all-night vigils.
One evening I noticed she had purchased notecards for Scripture memorization. In addition, she had neatly organized her belongings, and her hair donned a pretty bow. I could feel it; my couch would soon be empty.
I genuinely missed Kathryn when she left. Later she told me that those three weeks had been a turning point for her. I had shared the things she needed most: myself and my garage-sale couch.
Lord, thank You for Your promptings to help others. May I respond with a willing spirit, trusting you for the outcome. Amen.
Love this blog, Jane! Reminds me that people won’t remember so much your comments, your food, or surroundings, but how you made them feel. el. Your story is true hospitality in action, creating an environment for the transfer of grace back and forth between two people at the deepest of levels.
What a testimony of the power of silent example! Thanks for sharing this.
Nancy, what great insights. You are one of the greatest examples I know of someone who creates environments where God can work deeply! Bless you, dear friend.
Yes, often actions do speak louder than words – – – especially when God is at work!