Immanuel on the Muni
God is Immanuel, He is always with us, we know this, and yet I feel like He loves beautifully surprising us by revealing Himself in unexpected ways. This can happen at any moment in any normal day – including while riding the Muni.
A few BJM staff signed up to do an Immanuel Prayer workshop hosted in the Outer Richmond. It was Thursday night, pouring with rain, we had just got out of the session for the evening and we were both hungry so stopped at a little cafe by the bus stop and ordered something to go as we waited. It felt like a scene from a movie, the bus pulled up right as the food hit the counter and we ran out the door and right in. We sat down and immediately the lady across started talking to us. It isn’t that odd for this is happen, as staff of BJM it’s like God leads women right to us. Somehow they just know they are in a safe space and are free to talk. That happened this night. Laura* just started talking, she was upset about a friend who had hurt her and the shelter she was staying in. She was disappointed that coming to San Francisco and life not turning out the way she had hoped. She spoke and we listened. I have learned that often times hurting women need our heart and our ears far much more than they need our encouraging words or helpful advice. That night she had two sets of ears and two big hearts as she shared for quite a bit of time. I noticed her soften as she spoke. She had started so tense, on edge, and visibly upset. Yet as she let the words flow, the aggravation and tension seemed to slowly dissipate as Laura realized she was among ladies she could call friends.
It’s amazing how God orchestrates life in incredible ways, we just need to have eyes open to see it! Earlier that day the two of us now sitting on the bus had been prayer walking in the Tenderloin and found ourselves outside one of the shelters. We prayed for the people sleeping in the beds, we prayed for the staff, for peace, for safety. We prayed for the women in that shelter. That evening we met Laura, a lady from that specific shelter we had prayed for, sitting in front of us pouring her heart out. We had just learned at our Immanuel Prayer Training that we can simply ask Jesus where He is, and He will show us. In this moment on the Muni, I did just that. Immediately, I saw Jesus standing beside Laura bent over and whispering in her ear over and over, “I love you, I love you.” I was able to share with Laura that earlier that morning, we were outside her shelter and were praying for her. We told her how God was the One that had us sitting right there on the bus just for her, because He loved her so much. He wanted her to know how much He loved her. The tears started welling up in her eyes as I spoke. I saw Jesus declaring His love for her, so I just did what I saw Him doing. I joined Him in telling her how loved she was. She lept off her seat and gave us big hugs and kisses, and as she sat down again I asked if we could pray for her. She immediately nodded enthusiastically, and said, “Yes! Yes!” We prayed for Laura and watched as the peace and joy flooded her face. I have captured that picture in my mind. It was a moment to always remember and treasure.
As we approached her stop, it was another round of hugs and kisses. Laughter and joy filled the bus. It wasn’t just from the three of us, but a few others on the bus who had taken a moment from being buried behind their screens to look up and see what was going on. An encounter with the beautiful Lord Jesus for everyone who witnesses it.
Laura stepped off that bus that evening with a peace that Jesus had given her, right there on the 38, on a rainy Thursday evening. We sat back just saying, “WOW, Jesus YOU ARE SO GOOD!”
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*Name changed for confidentiality.