Prays Together: Smog Check and Coffee

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By Ben Hayes
It was just a regular Tuesday morning as three of my friends and I sat around the table in the busy little coffee shop sipping coffees, sharing stories, and watching the countless people coming and going. There were plenty of regulars ordering their usuals, and head nods and short greetings were exchanged. Then a young man came in  ­— let’s call him Ryan  — looking a little sleepy and like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He grabbed his coffee and came and sat at the table with us. After exchanging warm hellos and how-are-yous we starting to read a portion of scripture together and discuss the meaning of it. The passage in Luke discussed how Jesus sent out the 12 disciples to various towns near them with instructions that explained how to interact with those that they met.
During the reading the young man that I had just met seemed to be having an internal battle; one that was demonstrating itself on the outside as despair and general agitation. So I asked, “Hey, are you okay?” to which he responded, “Sure.” It was at this point that Ryan started to unburden all that he was going through. He told me about the three places he had worked in the last two years that had closed down and left him without work. He and his wife had been struggling, and he was generally having a bad day.
The four of us then started to share with him encouragement about how God loved him, made him, and had a design for his life. We started to speak words of encouragement over him and help him walk through some of his hurts, pains, and desperations.
At the end of our time together he said, with a big smile on his face, “I just came to smog my car and get a coffee, but I feel so alive now!” Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time, and need the courage to encourage or talk to someone sitting beside us. We all have struggles  — sometimes we are on top of the world on the outside, and drowning in fear and self-doubt on the inside. You may be the person that brightens someone day, so don’t be afraid to speak out and encourage those around you.
Ben Hayes is youth pastor at the Church of God of Exeter. He may be reached at bhayes@choge.org or 559-592-2631.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church. 
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.