“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.” -Hebrews 13:2
“My eighteen-wheeler is parked out in that upper lot” she said, pointing out the church’s windowed wall. Her skin was tan and weathered and a bleach-blond ponytail flowed down her back from underneath a baseball cap. By the lines in the corners of her eyes and around her mouth, I’d guess she was in her early fifties. Yet there was also something about her which was timeless, making it impossible to know her age for certain. Sandy was her name, and something about those eyes told me she’d had a hard life—or at least a troubled past.
I was working on staff at a church when Sandy first walked up to the desk. She chatted about her husband and profession—they were both truck drivers tag-teaming across the U.S. She was trying to get some dental work done before moving on to their next destination. Something about her look of rough times and the fact she was telling me so much of her story made me think she was probably there to ask for financial help.
And yet, she never asked for money. She told me her life story, a little about the difficult past I already guessed she had, and asked me to pray for her husband. After a few minutes of chatting, she gave me her name and email address then returned to her truck.
I didn’t think much of that experience except that it added an interesting perk to my day. A perk was good considering I was having a very difficult time dealing with my husband Michael’s chronic health issues. He had become so debilitated that he couldn’t work anymore and life in general seemed really heavy. I was worn out with the weight of it all and we’d been recently disappointed with some very expensive treatments that yielded little improvement in his health.
A couple of weeks later I came across Sandy’s email address and sent her a quick message. And that’s when it began.
“A lady named Sandy is here to see you,” a co-worker told me. I came out and there she was! She stopped by the church again while driving her truck through town. Sandy quickly became like an old friend to me, full of stories from being on the road and overflowing with a deep passion for the Bible. Her positive, faith-filled words and presence were like a breath of fresh air. In addition, Sandy was very familiar with some uncommon aspects of Michael’s health struggles and pointed me to some helpful resources.
I continued to hear from Sandy about once a month. Like a breeze she would blow in and blow out, but she always left me encouraged. Her words were often poignant and struck my heart in a way I can’t even explain. I could often see parallels between scriptures she shared, promises she claimed, and the faith I needed to hold onto during those very discouraging days.
I dubbed her my “truck-driver-angel-friend” and whenever she called or visited my co-workers would know to send her to me.
I remember one time in particular when Sandy called and said her truck was parked in the Wal-mart parking lot a mile away. Her husband was sleeping in the truck and she wanted to drop by for a few minutes. “Sure,” I said. “Come on over.”
The weather was bitterly cold and wind blasted across the hill between us. Yet about fifteen minutes later I looked out the window and Sandy was walking down the hill toward the church to see me! Walking?! She trekked a mile in miserable cold that required a stop by Starbucks just to warm up before finishing her journey to my office.
“That was invigorating!” she said as she strode through the church’s double doors. Always positive, always uplifting, always seeing life with great perspective.
Sandy called me another time on New Year’s Eve. After sharing a few stories, she ended the call by saying, “Let’s look forward to experiencing the goodness of God this next year.” Wonderful words for my weary soul.
Not long after that, Sandy sent an email that some things in her profession and family were changing. I emailed her back but never received a response and her phone number no longer worked.
Was Sandy an angel with a West Texas twang? I have no idea. I must admit the nature of our friendship was particularly timely and mysterious. Either way, I can’t help but see her as God’s gracious messenger sent to cheer my heart and lift my head.
Can you think of subtle ways God may be seeking to encourage you? Perhaps through the kind ministry of another or by meeting a need in your life in an unexpected way? He is not far from us, Friend. He sees you. Sometimes we may think God has forgotten us or overlooked our struggles, but perhaps we are overlooking Him! Let’s open our eyes, recognize God’s messengers of encouragement, and as Sandy says, “let’s look forward to experiencing the goodness of God this next year.”