Dan was recently challenged to pick a verse, one single verse, and memorize it. To take that verse and place it in your car, mirror, pocket, phone, etc, and let it be the verse that you stand for in 2014. We were discussing a verse to choose the other night, and I immediately thought of Psalm 91, because this was the verse that we prayed over Mary Anna. I read it to D, and as soon as I finished he reminded me of something that happened to him last summer. He wrote it down, and I wanted to share it with y’all:
Kari and I had discussed on multiple occasions what the perfect choices would be for the color our baby girl’s nursery. It was easily and finally settled. Mary Anna would dream every night in a room painted with “Beach Glass”, and her bathroom would be painted in another color that made us of think of the ocean. Its color name was “Constant Coral”. With the colors decided, I went to the local paint store get a gallon of each. Having placed my order, I wandered around this monstrosity of a warehouse filled with anything painter related. You have been to a paint store, so you can relate. The door beeped as a man walked in wearing painter’s clothes, solid white with little dabs of every color imaginable splattered on his uniform. I’ve never understood why painters wear white. It’s like a wearable canvas that shares with people all of their adventures on the high seas of paint. His shirt pocket read “Auburn University Paint Department”. I figured he was there to order or pick up and head back to campus, but he looked straight at me from across this giant paint store and walked straight up to me, nowhere near the front counter. Looking me in the eyes, he stretched out his hand and asked me my name. His gaze was different than most people you meet. It had a gentle intensity to it, filled with enthusiasm. I told him, thinking he was just making small talk. He then asked what kind of paint project I was working on. Smiling, I told him I was painting my baby girl’s nursery. He smiled back reflecting the joy I must have beamed when talking about Mary Anna’s expected arrival. Then he asked if it was our first. I said yes. He pointed his finger at me, not in a condemning way, but rather as if giving an encouraging presidential speech, and said that he wanted me to do him a favor that my child and family would be benefit from. The tone of his voice sounded serious. He told me to read and pray Psalm 91 over my children and household every night… Every night, he emphasized. I agreed to his terms, we shook hands, and he walked off toward the paint counter smiling.
His words were simple and straightforward, not filled with an unnecessary depth as if he was evangelizing to me. He never even asked if I was a believer. It was almost as if he knew. It was such a rare, unforeseen moment that I knew it wasn’t a chance encounter. Here I was in the middle of a paint store, and this guy walked straight up to me from the front door, nowhere near the counter, and spoke words to me that made me feel as if I was meeting an apostle in a farmer’s market in Philippi. And just like that, he was gone.
I told Kari the story as soon as I could, because it made such an impact on me. His handshake, the gaze, and words struck a cord deep inside me. It obviously has left a mark because I remember this encounter with such vividness that I can replay it in my mind as if it was an iPhone video. I wish I could find this man and tell him Mary Anna’s story. I would want to add what an impact Mary Anna is making in other people’s lives.
Soli Deo gloria,
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you will all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands;
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With a long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”