Yani was a wife, mother of three, English teacher, native Costa Rican. Yani was my friend. I met Yani while working at a Christian school in Costa Rica. She invited my friend, Kelli, and me into her home when we were lonely and homesick, young and single girls living in a foreign land. She made us feel that we were part of her family when we were so in need of family, despite the age, language, and cultural differences. Yani spoke to us as friends, and was there to lovingly teach us the ways of a foreign country.
Often, Yani invited us to her home for “coffee”. This coffee time included sandwiches and sweets, “pan dulce or tres leches,” and of course, the strong, hot coffee, which she desperately craved by three o’clock in the afternoon. We could only stomach her coffee with lots and lots of “leche y azuchar, por favor!” (Milk and sugar, please!). It was during these coffee times that she often opened up her heart with tales of her childhood, dreams for her future and the future of her children, and of her faith in God.
She spoke in English, which was a welcome reprieve from the constant struggle to comprehend the beautiful, but foreign language Spanish. Though her English was very good, her accent was different enough that we had to listen intently in order to understand what she was saying. We listened intently not only to understand, but also because we loved her, and we knew that she loved us.
One day, at coffee time, Yani shared an experience from her life, the memory of which was still both painful and precious. She shared of when her daughter became very ill. They rushed her to the hospital and spent a long, difficult night not knowing what the outcome would be. At one point during the night, a compassionate Christian nurse felt compelled to pray with Yani. The words of her prayer were simple: that God would make His presence known to Yani and her family, and that He would heal her daughter.
Yani struggled to describe in English the depth of peace that she felt at the moment of that prayer. In heavily accented English she said, “When that nurse prayed … I could … I could hear the footsteps of Jesus.”
The footsteps of Jesus! If we listen, they are all around us, walking before us, with us and behind us.
The footsteps of Jesus assure us that yes, He is here as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Prince of Peace and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. But we must remember to listen carefully and intently, not only to understand, but because we love Him, and we know that He really loves us! Listen for His footsteps and you will surely hear.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (NLT). The New American Standard translation says it this way: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” And that is the invitation for you this day: Sit down, be still before the Lord, and listen to Him. Cease all of your striving and know that He is God, the extraordinary, awesome God who is pleased to speak to ordinary souls.