She was a sweet, middle-aged, Indian lady with an easy smile. She didn’t know that God had highlighted her that day, and neither did we. Her name was Pam.
She took our order at Wienershnitzel fast food restaurant in Redding, California. Their main menu items are hotdogs and chili cheese fries. Cam ordered a chili cheese dog and chili cheese fries. I ordered three chili cheese dogs, a corn dog and a drink.
We had just experienced a 10:30am Sunday worship service at Bethel Church. We both were overwhelmed by the Presence of God in worship and the poignancy of the sermon. I had a hard time singing through most of the songs on account of my continual weeping⏤not crying, weeping. I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude bubbling up from within me and the Father’s love being poured out upon me, a geyser and a waterfall all at once.
The message was about faith. What does it look like to grow in faith and to have faith for the impossible? Cam and I both left for lunch with a boost of faith flowing through our veins.
So when I heard the Holy Spirit say one of the workers had back issues, I knew I had to do something. The Lord brought to mind Matthew 10:8 that says, “Freely you have received; freely give.” I knew what He was saying. Cam and I have received so much from the Lord this weekend, it was time to give some away.
I went up to refill my tea and the young girl who had been sweeping the floor asked, “Is there something I can help you with?” It felt like it was an opening that I had to step through. “No, thanks,” I answered, “Is there something I can help you with? Is there anything I can pray for you about? Like a back issue?” I thought this girl was the one who needed prayer for her back. I was wrong.
“No, I’m good,” she said. Then she awkwardly smiled hoping that I wouldn’t ask any more questions like that. A second or two clicked by that felt like an eternity as I thought I had misheard the Lord. Then, as if a sudden thought came to mind, the girl tells me, “But Pam has a hurt back.”
“Oh,” I said, “It’s Pam who needs prayer.” I asked where Pam was and the girl explained that Pam is in the back and wasn’t likely to come out to the front. She warned that Pam would be even less willing to receive prayer.
Returning to my seat, Cam and I chatted some more, finished our lunch, and prepared to leave. I prayed for an open door with Pam. I didn’t know at the time that Pam was the same lady who waited on us. I assumed that she was in the back and that I hadn’t met her yet.
As we got up to leave, I saw the lady who waited on us behind the flat top grill in the area just behind the counter. I stopped. The Holy Spirit whispered, just faintly enough that it would have been easy to miss. I’ve missed it so many times before. The Holy Spirit said, “That’s Pam.”
I stopped and looked right at her. The young girl saw me look at Pam and said to me, “That’s her. That’s Pam.” I pointed to her and asked, “Is your back okay? Is it hurting?”
At first she shook her head and said, “It’s okay. It’s fine.” But I knew it wasn’t. And she knew it wasn’t. And the young girl knew it wasn’t and so she said so. “I told him your back has been hurting,” she said to Pam.
I asked Pam if I could pray for her. After some kind-hearted cajoling, she agreed. I met her at the door that said Employees Only, and I opened the door just as she was coming out.
I told her that sometimes when I pray for people they get healed. I asked her if I could pray for her back and she agreed. I told her that I believe God had sent me to this restaurant just for her, that He loved her and wanted her well. Tears welled up in her eyes. The Father’s love was right there with us in that moment. He knew her. He saw her. He loved her.
I held out my hand and she allowed me to take hers. I prayed for Jesus to heal her back. I heard the Holy Spirit say the word, “sciatica” and so I asked if she ever had pain radiate down her legs. She confirmed that she did. So I prayed against that pain and for her total healing. My hand started to shake as it held hers. The Holy Spirit was moving.
After about a minute of prayer, I concluded and said, “My hand shakes when the Holy Spirit is really moving in power. Can you feel His Presence on you?” She said she did. I asked her to check her back and see if it was better. She said it did feel better and explained that it had been hurting for a long time. I also got the sense that while it was feeling better it wasn’t completely healed. So I asked if I could do one final prayer for her. She agreed.
I invited the Holy Spirit to continue to heal her back from top to bottom as the day went on. I prayed that by the time she fell asleep that night, that it would be totally healed. Then I thanked her for letting me pray. She thanked me for praying, and we left. Cam and I drove away praying, not only for Pam’s back but for her heart, that she would come to know the Father’s love for her, that she would learn from Him how valued and treasured she really is.
That lunch wasn’t about me and Cam reflecting on the Bethel service. It wasn’t about me and Cam at all. It wasn’t about chili cheese dogs or chili cheese fries. It wasn’t about sightseeing in downtown Redding, CA. It was about the Father’s love for a woman named Pam. She may have thought she was insignificant, hidden in the back, with back pain as her lot in life. But the Father saw her, loved her, and sent to her anyone who was willing to go. Even if He had to bring them from Baltimore.