I almost didn’t hear the doorbell.
I was vacuuming the carpet when I thought I heard that distinctive sound of chimes summoning me to the front door. But then I heard it again so I hurried to see who might be visiting me this mid-morning.
There on the front porch stood our mailman. We had never met before because our mailbox was at the end of our long driveway. The mailman, anxious to finish his long route, always drove hurriedly down our long street with little time to spare.
The mailman introduced himself, then started to cry.
“Can you talk a minute?” he asked, pulling out his handkerchief and wiping his tired eyes.
I didn’t invite him in because I was alone in the house, but I offered to get him some water. He declined.
I walked out onto the porch and we sat facing each other on the wooden porch chairs. “How can I help you?” I asked, concerned because he appeared acutely distraught, almost to the breaking point.
“I need someone to pray for me,” he replied. “I’ve noticed you receive several Christian magazines and I figured you must be a Christian. My job at the post office is so stressful I'm afraid I can’t go on much longer."
I asked him if he were a Christian and he answered a simple, “Yes, but I don’t go to church much because I sleep all day Sundays from nervous exhaustion.”
We talked a little longer and I asked him if he had considered another job. He said he couldn't consider this an option because he and his ailing wife would lose some vital health benefits he had built up over the years.
I prayed with him, asking God to use this very difficult time to draw the mailman closer to Himself and to give him the strength to do his job if this was where God wanted him to be. I prayed that conditions in the local post office would improve so he wouldn't find the hours he spent there so stressful. I asked God to make it possible for this middle-age man to go to church and enjoy the fellowship and support from other Christians that he desperately needed.
When I finished praying, I invited him to come back that night when my husband would be home and we could have more time together. He shook my hand, thanked me and returned to his truck. My heart ached for him.
After a few minutes, I walked down the long driveway to our mailbox. I was struck by the harsh reality that people are scrutinizing our lives all the time. Even our mailmen know our character and our interests simply by the magazines we subscribe to.
I prayed then that God would wrap His protective covering around my mailbox, preventing anything from entering it that would dishonor Him or that would compromise my testimony.