Growing up, my parents taught my brother and I to “never judge a book by its cover.”
I thought I was doing a pretty good job of that until a few years ago when God showed me otherwise.
You see, my dad was a grocer in Detroit for over 50 years in a predominately black community (we are a white family). He was caring and friendly with his customers and in turn was well respected by them.
My brother and I grew up learning that no matter what color people were, we were all the same and should be treated equally. God recently showed me, however, that prejudice, a preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience, goes beyond the color of one’s skin, and I had much more to learn in that department!
It was Sept. 28, 2018, the day my 91-year-old father passed away after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only weeks before. My brother, his wife, my husband and myself had been by his bedside the entire time. It was a grueling month to say the least, but one filled with so many blessings as well.
I want to share with you the story of one of those blessings:
After dad was gone, we all decided to take mom and go out for a burger and drink to discuss funeral arrangements. I suggested we go to Red Robin’s as I only had a couple days left to get my free Red Robin birthday burger, something I look forward to every September and had not been able to do.
We sat down and were soon greeted by a young male server with bright orange hair styled in a mohawk. Upon further gawking, we noticed his visible skin was covered with tattoos.
My brother proceeded to tell him what had just happened and why we were there, but frankly, by his looks, we didn’t think he’d care very much. Boy, were we wrong!
To our surprise, he was extremely attentive to our needs, going out of his way to make sure everything was just right for us. Our order came and was delicious, especially my favorite mushroom and swiss birthday burger!
Then, again to our surprise, came a group of servers singing “Happy Birthday” and an ice cream sundae for me. It had been a long, hard month, and I started to cry.
The blessings didn’t end there, though. Our server came back to offer free desserts — on him — to the other six people at our table! We were so taken aback by his generous and kind offer.
When he brought our bill, he made us all cry, as on the back of our bill was a handwritten note that said:
“I’m so sorry for the loss of your family member, and I might just be your server, but if you guys need anything, I’m always here! God Bless, Justin.”
Justin returned to our table, saw how touched and grateful we were, and with tears in his eyes, knelt down in front of my 92-year-old mother, took her hands in his, and expressed his sympathies to her.
We all soon realized that God had sent this angel in the most unusual (to us) body suit to show us Jesus that day. We knew he was surely a gift from God, as we found out Justin only worked as a server on Fridays, and in God’s perfect plan dad died on a Friday.
I am so grateful that my God doesn’t look at the things man looks at, as I have. First Samuel 16:7 says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”
I am also grateful that I can be forgiven for my wrong judgement through the blood of His Son, Jesus. As John 7:24 says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgement.” In other words, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes to see that Jesus can appear in my life today as He did long ago to the women outside His tomb, anytime or anywhere, and in any shape, size, color, or gender!