By Emily Gardner
A few months ago, I was having a particularly difficult day. Early that morning, I had received the shocking news that my brother and my sister-in-law were separated. I didn’t know much else - my parents had just let all of us siblings know so that we could keep them in our prayers.
My brother and his wife always seemed so happy together and I looked up to them in many ways. I've always loved being around them, as well as their baby son.
I received the news of their separation while I was walking out of the gym. Feeling shocked and overwhelmingly sad, I sat in my car and just cried. I said a prayer. My heart felt heavy.
A while later in the day, as I was trying to go about my day the best I could, my girls and I were just finishing our grocery shopping. We were waiting in line at the store when an old man approached us.
He showed me these little key chains with crosses that he makes for people. “Do you know Jesus?” He asked me. I was caught off guard, but was happy to respond “Yes I do!”. He gave my daughter, Hadley, and I each a little keychain that he had made, and we talked a little bit more about following Jesus.
Then he asked me if I had any prayer requests. Starting to cry, I said that I did. He then asked what he could pray for.
In complete disbelief because of his timing - on this difficult day when I was struggling not to cry thinking about my brother and his wife - tears continued to flow and I couldn’t speak for a moment. Once I had gained some composure, I told him why I was feeling so sad that day. I told him that my brother and his wife were separated for the time being.
He asked my brother’s name. When I told him. I thought he would maybe write his name down and add it to his list of prayers, but instead, right there in the grocery checkout line, he put his hand on mine and prayed for my brother, for my sister-in-law, and for me.
I don’t remember most of what he said exactly, but I do remember that I couldn’t hold back any tears. Throughout this experience and especially as he said “we pray for you, Jesus, to heal hearts”, I felt an overwhelming assurance that God was aware of my brother. He was aware of my sister-in-law. He was aware of me.
In that moment, I felt like God was telling me that He sees me. He knows me.
I don’t know who this man was, but through him, God taught me something important that day - Heavenly Father sees me deeply.
He was aware of me, my brother, and my sister-in-law that day. And He is aware of each of us today.
He sees you and He sees me. He knows our personal quirks and struggles and circumstances, and He loves us regardless.
God sees you and He sees me deeply. And even though He sees us at our worst - He loves us and wants us to stay close to Him.
As we come to know and to recognize the God who sees us deeply, I believe that through Him, we can also learn to see others deeply - just like this sweet old man taught me so simply that day at the grocery store.