My Story - Make A Difference

By Pastor Woody • May 14, 2018

I would like to share a story with you. This is a simple story of how your faith and your belief can make a difference in someone else's life without you even knowing it.

My story begins sadly as I lost someone I loved dearly to what I now call "The Beast." What I am referring to is suicide. The woman I loved was overcome with past emotions and events that, eventually, wound up taking her away from me.

For months, even years, I struggled with this as I had no idea about what depression was nor how it impacted your life so deeply. Now, I've discovered, it is not only a common affliction but also not easily treatable by today's medical community.

Becoming deeply depressed myself, and not taking good care of my health, I finally turned my life to God, The Son and The Holy Spirit. It was here, I eventually found solace in my world.

I began taking weekend trips to the shore where I would observe the sunrise and literally feel the glory of God as I watched the sun break the horizon; felt the wind from the sea filling me with the Holy Spirit; and the mist from the ocean caressing my face as if Jesus himself was calming my aching soul.

Here, as the waves would crash against the beach, I would kneel down in the sand and say my prayers thanking God for all I've been given and all I've yet to receive. This place, I prefer to call it now, was my Private Place where I knew He was listening and I carried on many conversations with Our Lord.

As it sometimes happens in a believer's life, and after many months of going through this weekend ritual, my depression reared its ugly head once more. I started to wonder if my efforts were futile or in vain and what good was I doing anyone but me? Clearly, this wouldn't be what God would want, right?

One morning, as I stood from my prayers and sat on my little bench in the sand, I heard shuffling from behind me as if someone else were making their way down the boardwalk steps behind me. I turned to look and I noticed a little old man with one hand on the railing and the other on his cane struggling to make his way down to where I now sat. I immediately rose and went to him asking, "Can I give you a hand sir? You look like you're having a little problem navigating the steps."

He simply looked at me, made a little grunting sound, and shook his head no. "I'll be just fine on my own! I've been doing this for a while now!" I understood and just walked closely behind him should he slip in the sand on his way to the bench from where I just rose.

He took a seat and looked up at me, "See, I told ya I'd be just fine!" I smiled and nodded my head and asked if I could sit with him. Again, a little grunt, but this time he said yes.

As we sat in silence for what seemed like hours he finally said, "My wife and I used to come here every weekend. She loved to pray here and I just came along for the walk." I quickly responded, "What a coincidence! This is where I too come to pray!"

After this, he proceeded to tell me, "I'm not a big believer in God or all that stuff but, recently, my wife passed. I just come here to remember." I then asked if he would like to say a prayer with me to which I received another grunt. He said, "You go on and do your thing. I'll just sit here and relax." I did as he suggested and went on with my prayers as I, once again, kneeled in the sand.

This went on for several weeks. I discovered his name was Jared and every weekend I would meet with him not knowing whether there would be conversation or silence but, always prayers from me.

One Saturday morning, for some unknown reason, I didn't hear my cell phone alarm. This was strange all by itself because this was my regimen and I usually didn't even need my alarm to wake me up for my little trip. It was simply what I did.

Today, things were different. Traffic was heavier than normal; red-lights were abounding; and it seemed like everyone and their sister was out for a casual drive slowing my progress and arrival for my meeting with Jared. I eventually made it to the little seaside park where we meet. I parked in my usual spot and hastened my way to our bench in the sand. As I got closer I slowed my pace as, if he were there, I didn't want to startle Jared.

As I made my way to the corner of the boardwalk where the steps begin, I stopped and peered out over a palm frond to see if Jared was there. This is what I saw next…

The sun had risen and was beginning to warm the ocean. The sea was lively as the winds were rather gusty this morning. The morning birds were dive-bombing their unsuspecting prey in the water below them. All of these things were what I looked forward to every morning as they all represented a new day; a new beginning; and another chance at life for me.

Today, however, these things paled in comparison to what I observed next…

As I looked towards our little bench, I saw Jared. He was struggling to kneel down as he braced himself with one hand while pushing his cane into the sand to better balance himself. He then leaned his cane on our bench; lowered his head and crossed his hands. Now, I was intently listening as I wanted to hear what he was about to say. This was Jared's prayer…

"Hello God. I'm sorry, I'm not real good at this but my friend isn't here. I hope you can hear me okay and I am not interrupting your morning. I just needed to ask you to say Hi to my wife. I know she's okay now but I wanted you to let her know I miss her and love her still. Please take good care of her as I know you will and I'll see her soon. Oh, and thank you for listening to me. Amen."

My eyes suddenly filled with tears and my heart was about to burst with joy. As soon as he said Amen, I immediately ran down the steps and helped Jared to his feet.

He saw my tears and said, "What's the matter with you? Got something in your eye? I could only smile. I said, "No my friend. I'm just happy to see that you've found your way." Jared's response? You guessed it… a little snort and, "Yeah, it's not so bad after all." I gave him a little hug and we talked for hours.

What is the point of my story? It can be a simple thing… the life we lead. Sometimes, we make a difference in someone's life by simply doing the things we know are right in our hearts.

Some people need help to pray. They don't really understand what to say or what to ask for but, if we help them along their way… as you can clearly see from Jared's little prayer… It isn't a difficult thing at all to talk to God.

Teach them. Help them to understand. Don't worry about what to say or what to do but, just understand that what you say and do will be driven by God. You are there for Him to use and change the life of another lost soul.


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