The man across the street appeared familiar. Even from where Lydia stood
she could see his soft, kind eyes twinkle as he watched people walking
by. No one seemed to notice him standing there. He was dressed very simply
in clean, blue jeans, a wool sweater anda canvas jacket. Lydia had only
watched him for a brief moment after she had parked her car. She opened
the squeaky door of herVolkswagen, grabbed her purse from the passenger
seat, and heading towards the bank took one last glance at the man. He
waved slightly as though he had been waiting for her to notice him. Quickly
she cast her eyes to the ground and entered the building marked Grand
Why had the man waved to her? Did she know him? He did look
familiar. Probably Ive seen him around town before, she reasoned.
Brushing her thoughts aside, she completed her business and exited the
bank. She strode to her car and noted that the man was no longer in sight.
Phew! she thought to herself.
Lydias day was filled and soon she had completely forgotten the
strange event that had happened that morning.
The following day Lydia bustled about the house all morning doing various
odds and ends. It was mid-afternoon before she got around to doing her
errands around town. She ran in to the post office to pick up the mail,
her last errand. It was almost rush hour and Lydia was in a hurry to get
home and finish preparing dinner. Fiddling in her purse for her keys,
she sharply rounded a corner and ran smack into someone. Stunned she started
to apologize but gasped when she looked up. It was the man who had waved
to her yesterday. She stammered, Uh, sir... I'm sorry, and
backed away to walk around him. He said nothing. Just looked at her with
his kind eyes. He had taken no offense to her behavior, just smiled ever
so slightly, nodded curtly and continued on his way.
Lydia did not recover quite so quickly however. She was more confused
than she had been yesterday, but the man had done nothing inappropriate,
nor had he advanced toward Lydia. Perhaps he was just being friendly and
polite with his wave and smile. He does have a very kind smile. Oh how
familiar he seems? Where have I seen him before? No, where have I
MET him? I swear I have met him somewhere sometime. Now, what is his name
again? She continued to wonder as she gathered her mail. It was nippy
out. It often was during this time of the year so she wrapped her coat
tightly about her and hurried home.
Early the next morning she went to retreive the daily newspaper from the
front steps, just as she did every morning. She had dressed warmly in
black slacks, a cream colored turtle neck and warm purple wool sweater.
Her hair was gathered up in a loose bun, little wispies falling about
her oval face. Lydia bent low to gather the newspaper and gazed out to
observe the day. Her mouth dropped. There was that man again, standing
across the road from her house. He simply stood there quietly staring
at her. He held a small package in his hands this time, though. His eyes
were pleading, begging almost. Lydia leaned forward as if asking him what
it was he wanted, but then turned and marched back into the house being
sure to lock the door behind her. She rushed to the nearby window to look
out. He was gone. Disappeared. A sad feeling crept over Lydia. She shrugged
her shoulders and shook herself a little. This was getting far too
weird for her liking. He was like no man she had ever met. She had determined
that they had indeed met before. Where, she still could not remember.
School? Church? It didnt seem that important.
Sighing deeply she hurriedly ate breakfast and then prepared to leave.
She had some things to take care of this morning. Her first stop: the
church. She needed to pick up a table cloth. She quickly parked her little
car and stepped out. There on the stairs of the little white building
sat the man. He still had the small package in his hands.
Lydias first reaction was to turn and run. But she decided to approach
the man. As she drew near he lifted his head. His eyes were a soft hazel
color and his hair was brown and wind blown. He kept a light beard neatly
trimmed and cleaned.
Excuse me, sir? Do I know you? Lydia asked tentaively.
His words were soft and gentle, Lydia, I have been waiting
for you. No sooner had he spoken those words than Lydias
eyes light with recognition. Then her eyes clouded with tears. It was
his voice that gave him away. Only one voice ever spoke so kind and true.
It was the voice of her Lord.
Jesus? Oh sweet Jesus! I have missed you so. Tears
freely fell now, trickling down her cheeks and splashing upon the cold
hard ground. He patted the step next to him inviting her to sit. Lydia
crumpled to the seat.
I have missed you too. Where have you been my child? Why have
you not come to see me? His words were full of love. There was no
harsh bitterness in His voice. Only love...and desire. Lydias heart
melted like wax to a flame. It was true. His words were so true. She had
not spent time with her Lord for many days now. She felt terrible. Guilty...broken.
Oh, Lydia. How I do love you. There is no place I would rather be
than with you. Don't you see? I have done everything...just to be
with you. Do you want to be with Me?
His words cut to her heart. Oh yes, she wanted to be with Him. Then why
did she so easily fall away. How easily she got distracted. But still
He loved her. How could He still love her so when she so often brought
Him pain? She had hurt Him and this was not the first time, she knew.
Jesus, please forgive me? I fall short so many times. I do
love You. Though so so many times...I know it seems that I do not. I want
to love You more. More than I do today...more than I did yesterday. Lydia
found it hard to put her feelings into words. But the Lord seemed to understand.
Lydia had by now found it hard to gaze into His eyes and was clutching
his sleeve, her wet cheek resting upon his arm. With a tenderness like
Lydia had never known He took her hand and placed it upon his cheek. With
his other hand He reached out and touched her face. He lifted her head
and peered deep into her heart.
Yes, I know that that is your desire, Lydia. That is why I shall
never leave you nor forsake you, but I shall always pursue you. With a
reckless, ruthless love I shall come after you. Just as I have done
these past couple of days. But you must always respond and come to Me
also. Just as you did today. And then our love shall grow.
It felt as if a warm blanket had been wrapped around her heart. She brushed
away her tears and smiled. He smiled back,
Here. I have a gift for you. I have many gifts I wish to give to
you. Open it.
With gratitude she received the gift and untied the pink ribbon that decorated
the package. She knew that whatever it was she did not deserve it. Jesus
was like that, though. Always giving what she did not deserve. Inside
was a gem stone. It was a beautiful blue sapphire. It glistened and glittered
as she rested it in the palm of her hand. She turned to Jesus.
He replied to her questioning eyes, When the time is right you shall
wear your crown that is set with many precious stones. Each stone represents
a certain truth you have come to learn and embrace. Hold these truths
in your heart for safe keeping. Do not forget my words here. Guard them.
Love them. Live them. And remember, I am always waiting, always ready
to be with you.
Quickly He rose and walked away. Lydia wanted to call out, to ask Him
to stay with her, to never leave. But after He was out of sight she heard
His familiar voice. Many times He spoke to her even when she could not
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.
Her heart comforted, she gathered herself up and, placing the precious
stone carefully in her pocket, made her way back to her car. The table
cloth could wait. She had more important things to do now.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive
the unfading crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:4
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life,which the Lord has promised to those
who love Him. James 1:12
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept
the faith;in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;and
not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,And a royal
diadem in the hand of your God. Isaiah 62:3
I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take
your crown. Revelation 3:11
Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming
down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting
shadow. James 1:17