God Uses Us To Bless Others...even in the simple things!
Have you ever had one of those Sundays where you’re just ready to skip out of a service or activity - for at least part of it? (I’m assuming we all have those days!) I faced one of those days recently, and God surprised me with a sweet blessing instead.
On this particular morning, I needed to get dinner in the oven about an hour before we planned to eat. So, I snuck out of the church right after the second worship hour started and headed home. As I drove those few seconds around the corner I thought, “You know, I could just stay home for a few minutes and then get back up to the church before the end of worship so I can greet people. After all, I’ve already attended the early worship hour.”
Pondering my options, I parked my car, unlocked the door and went to turn the oven on. Just then, I heard a text come through as my phone laid on the kitchen counter. Since I almost always leave my cell at home on Sundays, I was curious to check out who had texted me at this time in the morning. (“That’s weird! It’s from my husband.”) I looked at the clock and saw that he must have sent it right before he entered the sanctuary to preach. It said, “Sit with Julia today if you can.” Wow! Julia hadn’t been to church in over 15 years, but we had been specifically praying for and reaching out to her in the past few months.
As my mind swirled, I got dinner in the oven and got back into my car. No more temptation to sit this one out! I hoped I'd be able to find Julia and could sneak in to sit beside of her. As I quietly entered the sanctuary, there she was! Just a couple rows away - alone. So I took advantage of the transition from prayer time to the sermon and took a seat beside of her. I was thrilled that she took the step of faith to return to church, and I was honored to have the opportunity to share this moment in time with her. (Thanks, hubby!)
It may seem like a simple thing to take a seat beside of someone, but it can speak volumes! What’s a bit mind-boggling is on that same Sunday, I had two other opportunities to sit with ladies who were sitting alone. In reflection, I have no doubt that God nudged me to sit beside each of them as well.
During the early worship hour, I saw a lady come in a bit late to the service. She took a seat by herself. I could feel the weight that she was carrying with a lot of tough family issues going on. To tangibly show her my continued love and support, I quietly took the seat beside of her. We exchanged grins and worshiped side-by-side. After the service ended, we caught up for a few minutes, gave a hug and went our separate ways. (What a sweet blessing!)
Then, during Sunday School, I visited an adult class I hadn’t attended for a while. I arrived after class had begun only to find out that they had already been divided up into pairs. Now, I was the ‘odd man out.’ The first group discussion time was short, and was something I could easy consider by myself. However, the second discussion time was to be extended. (Awkward! Now what do I do?) Just as God would have it, my eye caught another lady sitting by herself. I’m sure she had expected her husband to join her, but I had seen him talking to someone out in the hallway before I entered the classroom. So, I took a risk and went totally out of my comfort zone. I crossed the aisle and asked her if she wanted to pair up. Thankfully she said, yes, and we enjoyed each other’s company over the next few minutes as we considered the discussion question together. It was a great mini-connection with someone I hadn’t talked to in weeks. (Thank you, God!)
It’s easy to think we’re just going along in life. Nothing major happening. Trying to be faithful. Living out our witness. Watching for opportunities, but not necessarily knowing about God’s plans. And, then, He gives us a glimpse into His all-knowing perspective. I could have so missed the opportunity with Julia. I rarely carry my cell to church, and I only run home to put dinner in the oven once in a while. The fact that I “happened” to receive a text from my husband on that day (he has never texted me before on a Sunday morning) is only by God’s design. If I would have stayed home, I would have missed an opportunity. If I would have gone back to church – and not received the text - I seriously doubt that I would have even seen Julia before I took a seat. What an amazing God we serve!
Some would call these encounters coincidences. I call them ‘God moments.’ I believe God put those ladies in my path and allowed me to see the opportunity He had given to connect with them. The other opportunity my husband had seen, and God made sure I got his message. It is crazy to me to think that God used the simple things in life to orchestrate such special moments in time, but it is so cool!
Whether you are at a stage in life where you are kid-free or are at the point where you only dream of being able to sit alone, God can use each of us in a unique way. After all, we were created to do a special work for God. It may be as simple as sitting next to someone or offering an “I know what you’re going through” smile while passing another mother in the children’s hallway or nursery area. It may mean calling up a friend to enjoy a cup of coffee or to take a walk. It may mean a play date where the kids enjoy time with friends and the moms take a moment to catch up on life. The age and stage doesn't matter. What does matter is if you are watching for those ‘God moments’ and trusting that the Almighty has a plan already prepared for you. Our God is walking before us each day, and He will make a way for you, and I, to make a difference... for His Glory!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-1