Here in the UK, we continue to ease ourselves out of the Covid pandemic, and I regularly find myself embracing “post-pandemic firsts”. It frequently leaves me marvelling at how something that used to feel so normal, only 2-3 years ago, can now feel so novel.

Just recently, one of these “post-pandemic firsts” was catching a cross-country train.

I love travelling by rail, but the pandemic means I’ve got out of practice. So when I turn up at the train station with plenty of time to spare, I decide to pop into the convenience store to buy a few bits and bobs – including a facemask to wear on the train, as I realise I’ve failed to bring one with me.


Browsing the aisles, I quickly find what I’m looking for – apart from any facemasks.

Approaching the tills, I’m greeted warmly by an assistant, whose badge proudly displays her name. “Do you have any facemasks?” I ask her, “I’ve been searching the store and can’t see any.”

“If you seek, you will find,” she replies, with a strong Nigerian inflection and a twinkle in her eye, “and if you knock, the door will be opened.” She pauses, smiles and points in the direction of the facemasks. “They’re over there,” she says.

Realising that she’s just quoted a well-known Bible verse at me, I smile at her, head to the shelf in the direction where she’s gesturing – and return to the till, clutching a pack of facemasks.

“Are you a Christian?” I ask, sounding more bold than I feel, as I put my items by the till. “It sounded to me like you were just quoting a well-known Bible verse.”

She breaks into a broad grin, nods her head and asks if I’ve ever read the Bible. I respond affirmatively, and we start chatting. I know of her church; she knows of mine. It feels like the most unlikely of conversations to be having in a train station convenience store. And then …

“I love memorising the Scriptures,” she confides in me, “because it enables me to proclaim God’s blessings over all sorts of people, by weaving them into my every day interactions, just like I did with you.” She pauses a moment, to help me pack my shopping into the bag I’ve brought with me.

“Go on,” I say, and then she continues.

“Often the verses I feel God give me for a particular person are exactly what they need to hear.” She ducks down behind her till, pulls out a box of tissues, and holds it aloft. “I’ve been known to need these from time to time,” she adds.

I tell her how encouraging she is, and then pray out loud, asking God to give her ‘words in season’ for all her customers that day, to which she replies with a hearty, “Amen!” I complete the payment process, and then turn to leave.

Heading out of the store, I feel a profound sense of awe at the witness of such an inspiring Nigerian woman.

I had simply gone into the store to seek out some bits and bobs for my train journey. Yet I was leaving having found so much more.


How many of us interact with other people on a regular basis? Perhaps our jobs mean we are regularly connecting with customers, like those being served by the Nigerian lady at the train station, or clients, patients, colleagues? Or maybe, for us, it’s more about our family, friends, neighbours?

If you are a Christian, when did you last memorise any portions of the Bible? Imagine what a difference could be made in people’s lives, if more of us started proclaiming God’s blessings over them, whether they are aware of it or not!

As ever, constructive thoughts and responses are welcome in the comments below.

Photo from Charles Forerunner via Unsplash



  1. Memorising Scripture… sounds like a whole chapter for your study guide!
    And, face masks aside, I’m wondering whether you did seek and find later in the day… and whether a word in season was spoken.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Martyn. I’m fairly sure a mention of ‘memorising Scripture’ will be weaving its way into my Study Guide!

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