In this special conversation, Bonnie Bennick, talks about a recent event that happened to her that opened her eyes to the power of our words. Oftentimes, we don’t totally comprehend our influences on other people. We begin to learn that every moment counts when unexpected events occur in our lives.
In This Episode
- Working through needing proof of God’s existence
- Tomorrow is not promised, our words carry weight
- What we do in this life matters
Bonnie: I had been having a rough time. My dad’s going through chemo. He has bone cancer and it’s the second time of it coming back, so I’d been kind of stressed running him back and forth to chemo appointments and my husband suggested I get a massage. I thought, “Well, that’s a great idea.” I called to make the appointment at the spot I normally go to and unless you request the same person, you’re generally going to get a new masseuse. I went there. It was on a Thursday afternoon and when I go in and the girl comes out to receive me, I thought, “She looks nice.” You kind of want to connect with that person that’s about to give you a massage.
Charles: Right. Something that’s kind of a little bit intimate, right?
Bonnie: Yes, it is. Yes, absolutely. She came out to introducer herself and I thought, “Well, she seems like a nice girl.” Back and into the room we go. They do this thing of assessing you and asking what do you want. Are you looking for a massage for relaxation or do you have sore muscles? I’m telling her I want relaxation. As we’re talking, it comes out that I’m a Christian. I don’t know exactly how they came about or why I even mentioned it but I did. She said that she had been a Christian and was saved when she was 16. As we got into the massage and I’m on the table, we started talking about the Lord. She asked me … She said to me, every night on her ride home, she has a long drive, that she’s asking God to prove himself. “Lord, I’m looking for proof. I want proof.”
Charles: Are you really there?
Bonnie: Yes. I told her, “Well, for me, God’s proof is in everyday life. It’s in me being able to move, the trees, the sky, the newborn baby, animals, the change of seasons. God is everywhere for me. I said, but proof isn’t something we’re supposed to look for. This walk is faith. We believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. It’s not about having proof. I went to the scripture where God told Thomas, “Look. Touch the holes in my hand, the holes in my feet, my side and blessed are you that see but blessed are those who haven’t seen and believed.” We’re to believe by faith. It’s by faith that we believe and faith isn’t proof, isn’t having proof, isn’t needing proof. She kind of agreed and kind of understood, I think received what I said.
Charles: Now, had she been going through some things recently?
Charles: Some difficulties?
Bonnie: Absolutely. She was at a point in her life where she was going through a divorce. She had two small children. She was either 27 or 28 and she had a six-year-old that had sickle cell anemia …
Bonnie: … and a two-year-old. Her children, as far as I knew, were in the custody of her husband. He had custody of her kids. She said she made some wrong decisions along the way, that there was some bad choices she made. She didn’t elaborate but she said in this time in her life, she really kept asking God, “Why are you not answering my prayers?” She prayed and prayed and prayed for a marriage and prayed for kids and I told her God answers. We just don’t always like the answer we’re getting but God is answering your prayer. It’s just sometimes, delayed is not denied. Sometimes, we have to wait on what God is doing or we think we know better than God does in situations. I told her you just have to wait and trust and believe. Faith is a journey.
She said as she’d been praying and asking God why, why is this happening, why aren’t you answering, I told her that when God answers the prayer, sometimes, it’s hard to hear no, that we think an answered prayer is always yes but it’s not. She kind of shook her head and agreed. We talked about her being saved at 16 and how she felt she walked away from the Lord. I told her, “But you know, God is right there. We walk away from him but he never walks away from us. He’s right there. He says he’ll never leave us, nor forsake us.” In her walk, wherever she goes, even though she’s turned away from him and making bad decisions, he’s right there and all she has to do is turn around and repent and just say, “Lord, forgive me. I haven’t been walking with you. Forgive me for my sins.”
He’s right there to forgive us. He doesn’t hold judgment over us. He doesn’t condemn us. He doesn’t want to punish us. He’s there to love us and forgive us. She nodded and she kind of received it. I just told her it’s never too late. Do it today. Don’t wait. Do it today. It’s never too late. I told her the story, my dad got baptized when he was seven or eight and he didn’t really remember it well. Now, he’s 77 and two weeks ago, he got baptized and he’s just … He loves it. He loves the transition. He loves the open exclamation that I’m a Christ follower. I told her I even recorded it. She’s like, “I would love to see it.” I said, “When we’re done, I’ll show you the video of my dad.”
Charles: It sounded like you guys … Even though you guys didn’t know each other in the beginning, you automatically had just a sense of comfort, just a connection just right away.
Bonnie: Surely, absolutely. That being more so where I felt … I knew she was a Christian. Even though there was this, a falling away from the Lord, I still knew that God’s love was in her. I felt that. I don’t know how. I laid there thinking, “Lord, I came here to relax and you had me ministering to this girl.”
Charles: It’s time to get to work.
Bonnie: Yes. When I thought that in my head, I thought, “Well, okay. Let’s do this.” There was no hesitation because that’s what we’re supposed to do, share the good news, share the gospel, share God’s love. I don’t serve a God that wants to punish. I serve a God that wants to love and receive unto himself and for all her bad choices, God forgives. I felt really good about sharing with her and I felt like she was receiving it. She came to a point where she even said, “I’m going to go to church on Sunday.” I can say that during our conversation, and it was about an hour long visit, she said, “You know, I know God sent you here to me today because I don’t normally work Thursdays. This was my day off. They called me in and I would not be here today to massage you, so I feel like God really sent you here to me and you really helped me.” I was glad about that and she goes, “I’m going to go to church on Sunday.” I was like, “Good. I’m glad to hear that.” Then, she even asked me where I attend it and she’s like, “Well, Clarkston. That’s too far from me.” I think she-
Charles: Where was this place at?
Bonnie: I live in Brighton so it’s Brighton but she lived in Redford. It’s quite a hike for her but she did say she was going to attend her church on Sunday. I thought, “Well, good. I was glad to hear that.” As I got up and got dressed, got out, she said, “I’m going to grab you some water.” I came out, had the video ready to show her of my dad’s baptism. I walked out and no one was around. I walked to the reception desk and there’s a water. I got it myself. I thought, “There’s no one here,” so I waited and waited and I turned and I look out in the parking lot and someone is passed out. I could see their feet on the ground. I wondered if it was her. Then, the manager came inside and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Evanie, the girl that just massaged you came out the room and said she wasn’t quite feeling right, needed some fresh air, went outside and just collapsed in the parking lot.” I was taken aback because I thought, “Wow, there was nothing …”
Charles: No sign that-
Bonnie: Nothing. She wasn’t winded, tired, fatigued, didn’t … She didn’t say, “I don’t feel well.” Then, I thought, did she get sick because of me? I would have thought that but she comes in and I didn’t feel right leaving. I just stood there and I prayed. The receptionist thanked me for staying and she went back out and EMS came. They took her away. They said they’re going to take her to the hospital and I thought, “Well, good.” I could see that she was kind of moving well.
Charles: She was moving a little.
Bonnie: Yeah. She was moving a little bit, so I thought, “Okay, well. I’m sure she’ll be okay.” That’s what I thought but it still, it kind of affected me because I thought, “Wow.”
Charles: One minute you’re vertical, the next minute-
Bonnie: Yes, absolutely. Being only 27, 28 years old, I thought she looked like she was in perfect health to me. The next morning, I was getting around and running some errands and I looked down to my phone. I had a phone call from the massage place. I thought, “Oh, good. They’re calling to let me know she’s okay or it’s her calling herself.” I was hoping that was the case. The manager came on and said, “I just want you to know you are so kind yesterday. I want to let you know that Evanie passed away.” I mean she finished my massage at 4:00 and she said they pronounced her dead at about five. She died of a pulmonary embolism.
Bonnie: I found myself asking the Lord in days following because it really shook me that I was the last person she spoke with, and I asked the Lord, “What do you want me to take away from this? What do you want me to learn from this experience?” I really feel it’s that our conversations matter, the words we share with people. Tomorrow’s not promised. We have to choose the Lord today. We need to make right decisions now with no regrets. I’m sure this young lady woke up in her day feeling fine and just in that one moment … I know our steps are ordered and I know the Lord had me there but I’m so much more mindful of what I share with people and what I say and my walk because it matters. I’m also honored that the Lord would use me to share with that young lady.
Charles: Right. When you had shared the story with me originally, I thought there are two sides to the story. One side is, is that, yeah, you got to minister to somebody and you got to talk to somebody about the Lord but on the other hand, when somebody passes, I mean that’s never something that’s necessarily celebrated.
Bonnie: No. Absolutely not especially a young life. We kind of expect as we get older, there’s going to be a time where we’re going to leave this place but not a life that’s cut short. Yeah.