By Judy Brandon: Relgion columnist
In another city, a friend of mine was eating lunch with her grandchildren at the food court of a mall.
There wasn’t much activity going on at the mall that day but things really picked up when three large yellow school buses pulled up in the sprawling mall parking lot. Quickly 150 junior teens exited the bus and entered the mall. My friend took it all in.
The teenagers were laughing, running in front of each other, and enjoying the feeling of summer vacation just around the corner. As they walked, they had already separated into their little social groups: The athletes, the designer duds, the baby-sitters, the academic achievers, the future prom queens, the gamers, the class clowns, the cheerleaders, the lawn mowers, the shy ones, the rowdy ones … each student seemed to have a social group that is except for one girl.
My friend noticed the girl immediately. She was taller and heavier than the others. She was not wearing designer clothes, and her heavy size restricted her from wearing the in style little outfits that so many other girls were wearing.
The young girl paced back and forth trying to locate a group with whom she could walk to the food court. No luck. My friend said that she could envision the thoughts in the girl’s mind: “Am I going to end up sitting by myself? Should I wait in the bathroom until everyone is finished? Who can I sit with?”
My friend watched her as she purchased her food and then peered over the crowd at the food court trying to find a safe chair in one of the social groups. She took a deep breath. She mustered all her courage.
She first walked to the “designer duds” group of 20 girls, and timidly found a seat at the very end of the table.
“Can’t sit there!” shouted one designer duds member. “All of these seats are saved!”
The girl picked up her sandwich and bottle of water, and moved to the “cheerleaders” group. No luck. That group had marked off seats by putting backpacks, purses, and cell phones in each chair to leave the appearance of someone claiming that chair.
She scoured the sea of students. To avoid a third rejection, the young girl took her sandwich and bottle of water and sat at a table alone.
My friend wanted so badly to ask the young girl to come join her and her grandchildren, yet she knew this would be inappropriate since she did not know the student.
Instead, my friend chose to pray for the young girl. “Dear Lord,” she said, “I don’t know this young lady’s name, but you do. You made her in your image. I pray that You watch over her. Give her self confidence. Give her peace that she may enjoy this day without fear of rejection. I pray that she may come to know you as her personal savior, where she can be loved and accepted as your child. Amen.”
In the Old Testament record, the young David was the least likely that Samuel would have chosen to be the new King of Israel. But God had given Samuel the criteria. He told Samuel: “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
As my friend gathered her grandchildren to leave, she watched the young girl sitting alone. My friend was overcome with sadness. Yet she once again realized there is no popularity contest with God. He accepts us and loves us because we are all valuable to Him.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: