It was Saturday morning, October 9, 2010 when we arrived in the parking lot of the Covenant Reformed Church in Sacramento. We were there to hear Joel Beeke speak on the topic of the (forgotten) doctrine of assurance. Dianna knew of Dr. Beeke from the books he had written and published and had also exchanged a few emails back in 2001 regarding the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and potential church planting in California.
As we parked the car, a small older black lady was strolling by on a morning walk with her little dog. Michael (as is his customary way) walked over greeting her with a "Good Morning and how are you doing. My name is Michael. I would like to share with you a short poem that I have written?" as he handed her the small accordion folded paper with the title, "His Wrath Satisfied" printed on the top of the 2 1/2 by 3 1/4 inch square.
As a side note: The Lord used a sermon by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Romans 3:25-26 as an inspiration for the words of this poem. Since writing the poem, (which is just one of hundreds) Michael has passed along well over 700 copies of this poem to people he meets.
As she took the poem, she thanked Michael and said, "One of these Sunday's I'm going to attend a church service at this church." "What is your name?", Dianna asked, “and how about tomorrow? There is a guest pastor who will be preaching tomorrow and I am certain what he has to share will be a blessing to you. We will be here again tomorrow. We hope you will seriously consider coming.”
"I just might do that" she said as she walked off. "Lillie Mae is my name". "Okay, Lillie Mae. It was sure nice meeting you--hope to see you tomorrow" we said as we waved goodbye and walked towards the front of the church.
The morning zipped by, as it often does, when one is swept away by Christ exalting preaching of God's truths. Before turning in for the night, we thanked the Lord for the encounter with Lillie Mae and wondered if she would indeed show up Sunday morning.
Before leaving out for Sunday morning Worship Services, we spoke briefly of Lillie Mae and prayed again that the Lord would draw her to the church.
Between the Sunday school session and the Worship Service there was a short break. As I was walking back towards my seat, there she was talking with Dr. Beeke. Apparently, she had gone right up to him and shared with him that she had been back-sliding for quite sometime and had felt the tug to come back to the Lord. Michael and I were filled with joy to see her and invited her to sit with us.
She opened her bible and pulled out Michael's poem. We all smiled and she took her seat to the right of me.
During the sermon, while we were instructed to turn to Romans, I glanced down to see little "x" marks in the left margins of many of the passages in Romans. As Dr. Beeke would read passages, she would mark the left margin with an "x" if it did not already have one. As Dr. Beeke spoke about Chapter 8 of Romans, I glanced down to see Lillie Mae circle the chapter heading and write "READ THIS" in big letters next to the chapter heading.
What a sweet morning it was. Here we were with Lillie Mae sitting right next to us, a woman we had but met for a brief moment in the parking lot the morning before. After the service, we got to know more about Lillie Mae and prayed with her. She again had tears of joy rolling down her face. Turns out she lives behind the church in an upstairs apartment. We exchanged phone numbers with a promise to check in with one another in the coming weeks.
We are amazed a we marvel at God’s providence in all of this. The timing of our arrival on Saturday; parking were we did; Dr. Beeke's presence at this church on this weekend; and on and on it goes. What a true and profound blessing to witness how the Lord had moved providentially over the past days and to witness how the message Dr. Beeke preached was clearly used by the Lord in a mighty way in the heart of this woman. She was moved to tears (as was I) many, many times.
Lillie Mae spent most of her early years in Atlanta, Georgia attending baptist churches. We are not sure how long it has been since she attended church services here in California; but, it has been a long, long, time.
After conversation and prayer; we trust that the Lord is drawing her back to Himself in a mighty way. She is a sweet and precious flower to us and we will include her as we walk together through the garden of our morning and evening prayers.
Thank You Lord for the sweetness You showered upon all of us today!