The story I’m about to tell you is so real, unexpected and amazing that I had to share it.
I’m at Wal-Mart late on Tuesday night, Dec. 3rd, shopping for groceries, toys and clothes for 2 families that my wife and I “adopted” for Christmas through our church. (Doing things like this is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world, so I was already in a joyful mood)
After I finish getting all the food, I push my cart over to the men’s clothing section to look at sweatshirts for a 15 year old. As I’m looking at different sizes and colors, I noticed a man (probably in his 30s) look my way and ask, “Are you looking for things for your adopt-a-family?” I responded with “Yes I am… how did you know?” He says “Well, you’re looking at a green sheet that looks like you’re shopping for other people and you don’t look like you’re buying that size for yourself. I wish I was on that list.” He told me his name was Shawn.
Immediately, my heart felt for Shawn without even knowing him or his story. I said to him, “Well, let me help you out then. What do you need?” He responds with, “It’s just hard right now. I have 3 kids. My 16 year old daughter got pregnant and just had a baby.” (Later, I would find out he just got laid-off from SAM’s Club) After asking him again, he tells me, “I’d like a Christmas tree. I don’t have one.. my girlfriend and kids would love it.” I smiled and told him, “Go pick out a Christmas tree and anything else you need. I’ll meet you up front when I’m done shopping.” As Shawn was pushing his mostly-empty cart away to go look for a tree, he looked at me in disbelief and asked, “Are you being serious right now? Why are you doing this for me!?” I paused for a second and told him, “God has blessed me this year, so that I could bless others like you. That’s what it’s all about.” He smiled and was still in shock as he walked off to the Christmas section.
I finished shopping and checked out, looking for Shawn but couldn’t see him anywhere. I walked over to the Christmas section and saw him looking at trees all by himself. I gave him some time to keep looking. After about 10 minutes, he walked out with a tree. I asked him “Do you want anything else?” He said “Well, my girlfriend has always wanted a blue tree, but the blue lights are expensive.” We went back, and I put 3 boxes of blue lights in his cart. He looked at me and said something that I’ll never forget…”Man, you are my angel. This is crazy.” At this point, I was about to cry because of everything that was happening. I told him, “The power of the holy spirit is amazing. You know this wasn’t any coincidence.” I asked Shawn if he believed in Jesus, and he said “Yes I do. In the beginning God created…(the Heavens and the Earth- Genesis 1:1).” We both smiled and headed toward the checkout aisle.
Before we got too far, he stopped and was staring at the blue ornaments but seemed like it’d be too much.. I put the ornaments in his cart and then we talked on the way to the checkout. I found out he just got laid off from his job, which just added to his financial dilemma. We checked out again with his Christmas stuff and a few things he got for his new grand-baby. I gave him the times that church services start where I go to church because he told me he hadn’t gone in awhile. Then Shawn asked the Wal-Mart cashier, “Do you know this guy? He’s literally my angel.” Wow….
As we walked outside together, God was convicting me to do more, so I did. I stopped in the middle of the parking lot and asked him, “Would you mind if I prayed for you?” He says, “No, definitely not.” I thanked God for Shawn and for leading us together. I prayed that God would bless Shawn and his family through the good times and the bad times, that God would help him find a job, and that God would bless his family’s time together for Christmas and New Years.
We shook hands and said it was nice to meet each other, and then walked to our cars. I could tell he was crying because he was so thankful… He may not realize this, but I was just as impacted and grateful for how the Lord just worked in both of our lives. A few years ago, I never would have thought about doing any of this for a stranger, or even someone I knew. And that’s a testament to Jesus and his holy spirit working in my heart. I hope I see Shawn again.
(This amazing story was not told to boast or make myself feel good for helping someone… it was told to give you a real life example of the power of the holy spirit, and how amazing God works when you live for Him first!)
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” ~Matthew 5:14-16
Thanks for reading!