It began with a simple poem I’d written to inspire public speakers. The poem was read at a national speaker’s convention and subsequently mailed to my e-mail distribution list. One of the people I sent it to was Cheryl Spicer in Australia. I became acquainted with Cheryl’s talents and work with disadvantaged people in Australia, Cambodia and Africa through a colleague, but had never met her. She replied with a compliment and our Internet friendship was launched.
A trip down under
A few years later, I flew with my wife and daughter to the Gold Coast of Australia to finally meet Cheryl and her husband. On the second night of our visit, they hosted a welcome dinner for us with a number of fascinating guests. It was after dinner that we learned about the real power of the Internet and the messages I’d sent.
Cheryl asked everyone to speak for a couple of minutes about their life and the blessings they had received. Then it was Cheryl’s turn. She is a captivating speaker with an infectious enthusiasm. What we didn’t know was she had experienced some very stormy seas in the past few years. We knew she’d overcome an extremely abusive childhood and had gone on to inspire others with her coaching and speaking about love conquering abuse. But sometimes the pain of the past can intrude like a thief in a peaceful neighborhood. At one point Cheryl’s life began to crumble and she felt there was nowhere to turn. She spoke movingly about her painful decision to end her suffering and take her own life the next day.
In an extremely depressed state, she sat down at her computer, saw an e-mail from me and thought, What the heck, I’ll just read this one. Immediately, as she began reading the poem, she felt that God was sending her a message—her life was special, her purpose was powerful, and He would provide safe passage from the desperation she felt at that moment.
Cheryl finished reading the poem with tears in her eyes. She was convinced that God had intervened via the Internet to save her. What kind of God could this be? How strong a love must He hold for us to rescue me this way? How could I deserve such special attention, and how in the world could He spur Mike to send a poem that would touch my heart at just the right time? She couldn’t rationalize it as mere coincidence and decided to set aside her self-destructive plans and began living with a new hope.
Later that evening we talked at length about the lessons we’d learned from the experience. Cheryl learned that
I learned that:
Friendships play a special purpose in our lives. They keep us strong when the world is battling against us. Whether it’s through the Internet, a phone call, or a quickly scribbled note, let others know God loves and cares for them. We may not know how needful the words are to their wounded spirit.