I closed the book I was reading to make a mad dash to the grocery store, glad it was only a few miles away. Just ahead an angry dark sky threw bolts of light to the earth, and stomped heavy feet on heaven’s floor.
Speedily, I whipped into the store, grabbed my three items, and zipped through the express lane.
I was quick, but not quick enough. I lost my race with the storm. The sky split open and a deluge descended. Sideways sheets of rain blocked the parking lot from view.
I stood captive by the door with other shoppers waiting for the storm to pass, or at least ease up a bit. Then I heard a baby crying – not an uncommon sound in a grocery store. But there was something about the cry that pulled at my heart. I turned my heard to spot the source.
My eye found a weary mother with groceries piled high in her shopping buggy. She stood in the checkout line with two carefree little girls, about seven years old, singing, giggling, and clapping their playful hands together. I imagined they were having a sleepover. What fun.
But mingled with the giggles was little sister…crying. Tears dripped from big brown eyes, down chubby cheeks, and off her chin. It was then that I realized that while a storm was raging outside the building, there was a greater storm brewing within its walls.
There was something about the toddler’s cry I couldn’t decipher. Was she tired? Was she hungry? I couldn’t tell at first, but something or Someone told me to watch closely and I would soon find out.
The little girl, not yet two, held up her arms to her mommy, begging to be picked up. Instead, her mother jerked her from side to side.
“Didn’t I tell you to shut up? Now be quiet,” she reprimanded.
With that, the cries ratcheted up a notch. Then the little girl walked behind the check-out counter and lifted pleading arms to the cashier. The uncomfortable teenager kept her eyes focused on the can goods and cash register –never acknowledging the wailing urchin at her side.
The older sister, thinking the scene rather humorous, pulled her sibling out from behind the counter.
“Tasha, come out from there. You don’t even know that lady,” she scolded.
Still crying, little Tasha turned and noticed I was watching. We locked eyes, which to her seemed like an invitation. It was. Tasha walked over to me, wrapped her precious tiny arms around my knees and rested her wet cheek against my legs.
As I patter her back, she put her thumb in her mouth and quieted her heart. I then understood the source of the cry. It was hunger after all.
After a minute or two, Tasha pulled back, looked up at me, and held up her arms. Her mother, as well as everyone else held captive by the storm, watched.
“May I hold her?” I asked the mom.
She gave a one-nod yes.
I gathered little Tasha in my arms, and she nestled her head against my chest. Automatically, my body rocked back and forth in the instinctive mommy sway. Tasha continued sucking her thumb and resting her heart. Her hunger was satisfied, if only for a moment, as I fed her soul with love.
Tasha’s sister and her friend came bouncing over, curious about this lady who held her baby sister.
“I like your dress,” one said.
“And I like your shoes,” said the other.
“I like your green shirt,” I replied.
“I’d like to go home with you,” the first one whispered.
I just smiled, as my heart wept. Perhaps there was a storm brewing in big sister’s heart as well.
All too soon, the storm cloud passed and the pelting rain slowed to a drizzle. Reluctantly, I handed the toddler back to her mother, who most likely was hungry for love as well.
After bidding the giggling duo farewell, I dashed to my car.
I waved goodbye as they watched me drive away – a smile on my face and tears on my cheeks.
The Holy Spirit had sent me, not only into a storm, but to calm a storm. It caught me off guard. I hadn’t expected to encounter God in the grocery store. It was a moment of sudden glory where God made His presence known.
Life is full of moments of Sudden Glory when God makes His presence known. Don’t missed them! To learn more about how to recognize God’s presence and working smack dab in the middle of your busy day, check out my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. You can download a free chapter and watch free videos.