The message on the bathroom stall

Scraping Raisins blog post: How God used a grafitti message on a gas station bathroom stall to speak to me.

We pulled into a sleepy country gas station at 3 AM and I groggily trudged into the store, searching for the restroom and shuffling toward a hand-lettered sign that hung askew above the door. We were in the middle of a 13 hour drive through the night from Colorado to Chicago.  

We've found that this means of travel is actually perfect for us because the kids sleep the entire way (ideally) and wake up when we arrive at our destination in the morning. There is no time lost in traveling and certainly nothing to miss in the long, flat drive over the lonesome plains of Colorado and Nebraska. The drive is so desolate that many of the exits warn of “no services” or that the next stop will not be for 30 miles. But the stars at night are incredible. 

Entering the bathroom stall, I closed the door and noticed that it was covered in graffiti. Right at eye level, a message jumped out at me. Though I was tired, the profundity of the message struck me enough to read it again and again, memorizing each word. It said:

“You are safe. God is pursuing you with true love. Don’t give up.”

What kind of person writes a message like that on a bathroom stall in the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska? And who were they talking to? It felt personal. Intimate. Like a stranger was staring into my soul and speaking a prophetic message to something they saw there.

Being who I am, with all my tendencies to over-spiritualize, of course I read into the message. I felt like God himself had vandalized that stall so that I would see it there in the middle of the night in May 2016 on a long distance drive with two tired babies in my reluctantly acquired minivan. Like He wanted to speak to me personally, but also illuminate a message for friends I have right now who are battling cancer, infertility, miscarriage, depression, disappointment, confusion and feeling forgotten by God.

You are safe.

God is pursuing you with true love.

Don’t give up.

Later in the week, I was on a run and noticed a bird nest high up inside the prism of a street light, straw and sticks poking out of a tiny hole in the glass. The lantern must have provided the heat and light the mama bird needed to nurture her young, but mostly it promised a secure spot away from predators and dangerous weather. I was comforted by the safety of that snugly situated nest, thinking about how we have security in God when we build our nests next to Him. But then it occurred to me that He is more like the mother bird, and we are his tiny, vulnerable, needy babies, completely dependent on Him to keep us safe. He fights for our survival like a mama bird fights for her young.

Familiar words came to mind, like the comfort food of the Bible:

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust Him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection” (Ps. 91: 1-4 NLT).

If you’re like me, these words are soothing, but also seem a bit naïve, because we know that sometimes we and our loved ones are not protected, healed or spared. We are not always safe. But today as I prayed for my hurting friends that seem to have fallen out of safety, I was reminded that though Jesus could have healed and even protected some of His friends from harm, He chose not to. What He did do was enter right into their pain. He sat down with them and wept. He was present with them in their loss in a way no other human being could ever be. His heart broke with the brokenhearted.

This is where the second part of the Nebraska bathroom graffiti message rings true. “He pursues you with true love.” And that is where our security lies. Though we may not always feel safe physically, we can know that He is always searching for and pursuing our hearts with His unfailing love. Even when we give up on Him, He will never give up on us. And sometimes that means chasing us all the way into a dirty gas station bathroom stall in Nebraska just to remind us.

You are safe. God is pursuing you with true love. Don’t give up, my friend. 


Related Post: When We Fear {for Velvet Ashes}

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Scraping Raisins blog post: How God used a grafitti message on a gas station bathroom stall to speak to me.

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