In the middle 1800s in London, England it was said that there were two great churches. One was Charles Hadden Spurgeon’s Metropolitian Baptist Tabernacle. The other was Pastor F. B. Meyer’s church. I found this wonderful story in the biography of F. B. Meyer, No Ordinary Man.
One afternoon Pastor Meyer was riding on a tram in northern London. As the street car went along the other passengers got off except for a lady sitting across from Meyer. She recognized this popular pastor. He thought that she was probably a char woman [cleaning lady]. After getting up the courage she told Pastor Meyer her story.
She said that she was all alone in the world, a widow. All she had was one daughter, and she was afflicted. But when she got off work and went home to her room her daughter was always there to greet her with a glad face. She could tell her about her day. Then at night she could reach out and touch her, get up and have her cup of tea. And now,” she said sadly, “now she is dead, and I am alone, and I am miserable. I am going home, and it is scarcely home for she is not there.” There was little time for discussion.
This mother was hurting, grieving. Her heart was still draped over the casket. What would you say to her? How would you minister to this stranger in brief moments?
Pastor Meyer spoke. “When you get home, put the key in the door, say aloud, ‘Jesus I know that You are here.’ Be ready to greet Him when you open the door. And as you light the fire tell Him all about your day. If some one was kind, tell Him. If someone was unkind, tell Him. Have your cup of tea. At night stretch out your hand in the darkness and say, ‘Jesus, I know that You are here.'” The tram-car reached the end of the line. They parted.
Several months later F. B. Meyer was in the same neighborhood on another tram. A lady sitting across from him greeted him by name and said, “Mr. Meyer you do not know me.” “I am afraid I do not,” he replied. Then she reminded him of the interview some months before. “But you are not the same woman,” he said in amazement. “Oh, yes I am,” she replied. ” I did as you told me. I went home and said ‘Jesus, I know You are here,’ and I kept on saying it, and it has made all the difference in my life, and now I feel I know Him.” And the change in her face bore witness to the truth of her story. Her countenance was different!
1. She lost her daughter, her ‘friend.’ Meyer introduced her to some one to talk with and fill the big void – Jesus, the ultimate friend! Lost or saved, we all need to be talking to Him through out our day!
2. Meyer’s advice to her seems singular, unusual. Where did he get this idea? Many would have prayed for her or mentioned church involvement. He went another route. Where did Pastor Meyer get this wisdom – “tell Jesus aloud . . .” ? I wonder if the Holy Spirit whispered this to him? Are we sensitive to the Spirit’s leading?
3. Did this story begin with this bereaved momma crying out to God for help? Then, in response did a caring, saving God set up this Divine Appointment with Pastor Meyer just for her? Jesus’ love can be so personal. Jesus loves you just as much.
4. Jesus also comforted her. And with the changed appearance, I assume that she received Jesus’ salvation some where along the way. Salvation is personal. Jesus IS salvation.
Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11.28). This mother was heavy laden, she needed rest. She got a Friend, comfort, salvation!
5. Pastor Meyer asked her to do one thing when she got home – “talk to Jesus aloud.” If she has refused to do so, do you think that would things have changed for her? Many would have refused to talk to some one that they could not physically see. Some might have not wanted to risk having neighbors over hear and think that they were either drunk or looney.
She was asked to take one small step of faith – like the woman that had the issue of blood. Would she have been healed if she had not reached out to touch Jesus’ garment? (Mk 5.24-35). I think not. Does Jesus still test us, asking for a small step of faith? Tell Him about that hurt, that burden, today – out loud.
6. Losing a key person in our life can be devastating. I know of no magic button to erase grief but it is so much easier if we can share it with some one. God did not prevent the three Hebrew boys from going through the fiery furnace but He was in there with them! (Dan 3.24-25). In the midst of our grief there is One who can share and ease the hurt and bleeding – Jesus.
“My heart and my flesh faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psa 73.26)(Isaiah 26.3; Psa 23; 1 Ptr 5.7).