You are currently reading the contents of a small foldable pamphlet, which can be easily printed on a double sided piece of paper, then folded in three and passed out. The foldable pamphlet, and PDF book format, can be found at www.amazingtruestories.ca/the-girl-at-the-store, right under the picture.
If you are reading this, it is most likely because I have just met you, and felt encouraged, in my heart, to give this to you, so you could read it in your spare time. Please do not do anything (like read it during your normal working hours) that might cause you to risk losing your job. That’s not why I have given it to you. Please, take it home, or read it on your break, when you’ve got time to properly digest it, and thoroughly understand everything I have written, because what I have written is very important, and it deserves your utmost attention. Also, before you begin, I want to apologize for the rather tiny format of this message. It’s the best I can do to “squeeze it all in.” My goal is to “pack as much as possible” into this tiny sheet, and this is the best I could think of. OK. I went to the internet and noticed how one or two people did it, but wasn’t satisfied, so I invented the layout that is in front of you. There’s no copyright on the layout, so please use it if you want!
OK. Let’s move to something a little deeper than text formatting and reading a document on your break. I want to get down to some meat and potatoes (in case you are not familiar with that expression, it means to get down to something much more meaningful). That “thing” that is much more meaningful, and much more important, is, in fact, you. The other day, I was walking into the dollar store to pick up some items (I cannot remember what, because it was not that important!), and, as I was about to enter the line to pay my bill, suddenly some type of “force” touched me, and I felt it right inside my spirit, which is the deepest part of me. Well, I was kind of shocked, and thought (correctly), “This must be God trying to communicate with me.” Yes, I know that sounds strange, because you might not have thought of God doing something like that before (if you even believe in God), but as I just stood there thinking about this, and wondering what was going on, suddenly, a young woman in a wheelchair went into the line in front of me, and then I knew why God had done what he did in tugging at me like that (if you can call it a tug). Yes, it was “something” like a tug that I felt in my spirit. It was very distinct. It was not an “accident” or just a “feeling.”
Now this is not to say that sometimes, we human beings might confuse a “feeling” with God. That can happen sometimes, if we get just a little “too spiritual.” I’m not talking about eating too much pizza, and then feeling sick, and thinking that God might be angry at me. Not in the least! I’m talking about the God who loves people, and cares for them, and indeed cares for that woman in the wheelchair, even as he also cares for people who are not in wheelchairs at all. But in this case, there was a reason why God did what he did, because he is also a healing God, who cares about how we feel “here and now” – he is not only interested in your eternal welfare, as many people might have already told you.
Well, anyway, I got into a good conversation with this girl, and asked her a few questions as we were standing in that line together (and you know she was not standing at all, right? She was sitting in a wheelchair). Now God is a good God, who loves people, and does not hate them (although he may hate some of the things they do, because they cause people harm). God loves the people he has created, and wants what is best for them. So that’s why he says, “Don’t do this or that.” But he is not like most people, who say, “Don’t do this or that,” because most people who say, “Don’t do this or that” (and I have certainly been in that group), may tend to focus on the negative, and almost completely forget about the positive. No, let’s back up for a second, and find out who this God really is. This is not the “god” who wants to limit your freedom, but give you freedom to enjoy life, and be creative, and be helpful in society. His goal is not to put limits on you, as you might have been led to believe. It is for freedom that Jesus died on the cross. It is not because he wanted to restrict you from having fun, or from being productive in life. Unfortunately, some people have it all backwards. They refuse to consider God, because of a “false image” of him that has been promoted by many people. Well, anyway, God is not like that. He loves people, and wants them to do well. He also sometimes wants to “intervene” in people’s lives, even as he “intervened” that day at the dollar store.
Well, as I was there in line, talking with this young woman who was sitting in that wheelchair, I did ask her about why she was in the wheelchair. Here is what she said to me: it was a result of a botched operation, and she had been in that wheelchair now for three-and-a-half years. Now what father would not care about that? A pretty bad one, I can tell you. But, you know, God is often presented “just like that,” as some type of uncaring father. Imagine! Now if that’s the “god” you are trusting in (one that is uncaring, that is), do you think that is the “right type” of god? I don’t! That’s why I will type his title with a small “g”, because if he doesn’t care, he deserves to have his title (that is, “god”) written with a small “g”. I won’t type his title with a capital g if he doesn’t care. But if I do type his title with a capital G (like that!), then that’s the one who cares! And he does! Except that he has been misrepresented. And that is a really huge problem.
Now a long, long, time ago (that would be more than 26 years ago), I got sick. And when I say, “sick,” I really mean “sick.” This sickness was, in fact, a disease which the doctors said was incurable, and I was severely affected, and this went on for about 16 years. During its peak, and for about a year, I had to crawl to the washroom. I could not walk properly! But it was much worse than that, even. I had an inflamed wrist, and inflamed jaw, an inflamed foot, an inflamed rib cage, a completely inflamed neck (you cannot imagine the pain, I could not even turn it). I had inflamed vertebrae, I had an inflamed sacroiliac (the region around your waist, at the back), I had an inflamed groin, breathing was difficult, and it was very difficult to stand up straight, because it was so painful. Twice, I also developed an inflamed iris (in my eye), which was also very painful and required powerful cortisone drops. My weight sunk to 127 pounds (I am normally now about 175 pounds), and when I went to bed, the pain got even worse! I woke up with throbbing pain in my upper back four hours later, and could not go back to bed. Then, by about 11:30 a.m., I would be so exhausted from all of the pain and inflammation, I would have to go back to bed. In the mornings, I would have to do exercises for an hour, because my back muscles became spastic, and the pain was so intense, I would have to do these methodical painful stretching exercises so that I would not lose my mobility. Every day was like starting at square one, right back where I began – my muscles became spastic again, each day. Because of the pain in my rib cage, I had to take shorter breaths, and I felt like I was being squeezed. But one day, when I went to church, the man said, “There is someone here who feels like he is being squeezed.” And I said to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel, but I never told him.” And the next week, I felt like I was being hunched over, because of the pain in my vertebrae, and when I went to church, he said, “There is someone here who feels like he is being hunched over.” And I said to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel, but I never told him.” And thus, the Lord proved to me that he really did care, and that I was not alone. He was allowing all of this for a reason, but it was not his will that I should be sick.
Many people have a hard time with that statement. They say, “How do you know? Maybe God does want you sick.” That one is actually very easy to answer. God is a loving father to his children, and cares about them deeply. Accidents, and troubles, do happen, and that is for sure, because I had that terrible disease (it is called Ankylosing Spondylitis), and that is no joke. Therefore, I know what it’s like, I can assure you. But I also know what it’s like to be loved by God. One day, seemingly out of nowhere (but I do know where it came from, it came from the Holy Spirit who was living inside of me, because I had trusted in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior before that time), God revealed his experiential, tangible, “you-can-feel-it,” and “you-can-know-it-right-inside-your-heart” love to me. God poured out his love upon me, and I began to cry. I cried and cried. I cried for two-and-a-half hours. It was intense. I also shed many tears after that, as well. Eventually, God healed me completely of that wretched disease, and I have been free from that disease for more than 10 years now; yes, completely pain free, drug free, and I can eat all foods again, as well (for, before that, my diet had been severely limited). I have experienced first hand God’s goodness and his love. I have learned about his love for his children, for he is a father to them. That’s something you may have never been told before, but I am here to tell you that he is indeed a father to the fatherless, and we are all in need of his loving touch, for he longs to be the father that you never had, for even good fathers will acknowledge that they cannot meet God’s level of perfection, and love, that we all need. For there is no one who is good enough to meet the level of perfection that is required in order to be perfect. But, as for God, he is perfect in all his ways.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. A God of faithfulness who does no wrong, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)
I know the story is not finished, and I did not even tell you all that happened when I met that girl, but what I can tell you in this short space is that God is a loving father, and the same care and compassion that he had for me, and for that girl, he has for you, for he cannot help but be loving, because that is who he is. This does not mean he also does not have standards, and principles, and even guidelines and commandments, but nothing that he does is to harm us in any way. His goal is to protect us, so that we do not cause harm to ourselves, and to others. His goal is indeed freedom and it is indeed for freedom that Christ came into this world, and died on a cross, so that our sins could be forgiven, and we could enter into that eternally loving relationship with God as our father, as he really is. Do you believe this? I want to encourage you to believe it, because it is true!