Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Arby's Angel

Hebrews 13:2 says, "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!"

Anytime I have thought about this verse, I have interpreted it as the importance of hospitality. Be kind to people. That sort of thing. But today it took on new meaning.
My friend Ronda and I had gone to to grab a bite and catch up a bit. We shared what was going on in each of our lives, and how we felt about it ... our struggles, our hopes, our fears, and our prayers. It was an enjoyable conversation with a dear friend, but not unlike countless other conversations we'd had ... until ...

A woman sitting in the booth behind us stood up, walked over to our table, set napkins down in front of Ronda and I, then walked away. She never said a word. I think Ronda said thank you, but for the most part we didn't really get what was going on at first.

Was she just giving us her extra napkins?
Did we look especially messy?

Then after she walked away we both looked down and realized she had written something on the napkins. Now, I have to be honest ... at first I thought she was selling something. But in the instant that thought crossed my mind, I realized she was nowhere to be found. Not much follow through if she was selling something. She set the napkins down, and disappeared.

Hmm, weird.

Then I looked back down and read what she had written on the napkin she gave me. They were scripture verses. The first was Jeremiah 29:11 - one of my all time favorite verses. Below that was Hebrews 10:36 - a verse I was less familiar with, yet was right on point to where I am in this moment in my life.

I asked Ronda if hers said the same verses. She said I don't think so, then showed me the napkin she'd given her. The verses written on Ronda's napkin seemed to speak right to where she is right now. Then the flood of questions started. I never remember anyone sitting down in the booth behind us.

Was she there all along and we just didn't notice her?
And was she listening to our conversation? We weren't talking that loud.
How could she have heard enough to know exactly what we each needed?
How was she so sure of which napkin to give whom?
And where did she go after she handed us the napkins? Seconds after she was at our table, she was nowhere to be seen ... not refilling her drink (if she even had one), not walking out to her car. She was just ... gone.

I looked at Ronda and said, "I think we just had lunch with an angel."

And the rest of our lunch break was spent discussing (in amazement) why the verses on each of our napkins were the perfect encouragers to each of us.

I don't know for sure who that woman was, but I am extremely thankful for her. Literal angel or not, she will forever be remembered in our minds as the Arby's angel because she was no doubt sent from God.

As soon as I got back to work I placed the napkin in an empty frame I had on my desk as a reminder not only of the words written on it, but of the intimate love that God has for me that He would hand deliver a word of encouragement to me ... one written on an Arby's napkin.

1 comment:

  1. That is the best story. God normally writes on my napkins too with things like "What's your problem?"