Long post, but the encouraging story is worth the read…
As I continue to pay more attention to the hand of God in my life I begin to become more and more aware of opportunities to share His love with others. BUT how many times to we miss these “Divine Appointments” God ever so conveniently puts on our calendar? Are we so caught up in our daily routines and selfish ways that we dismiss these opportunities without ever even recognizing they were there? Or even worse, do we recognize the opportunity and choose not to take it?
My answer to all of the above would have to be YES! I can point to so many times that I missed an opportunity, so many times I saw the opportunity and walked away willfully, so many times I can imagine God above shaking His head while performing the ever popular “face palm” as he looks down on me, his child, failing him. I want to share two personal stories on this subject and the amazing way God used one to reveal the other to me.
I was at a sporting event a few weeks ago and was wearing a shirt that simply said “I AM SECOND”. It was a shirt I had received at a youth event I had assisted with where this was the theme. (yes, referencing the ever popular Christian Social outreach http://www.IamSecond.com – highly suggest looking at this site) As I was walking past one of the event staff members he simply asked, “I am second? Don’t you want to win? Why would you want to be second?”
I froze. I knew the answer. I choose to put God first in my life and I become second. But in that moment I chose to put myself first… My answer, “It was the theme at a church event I helped with.” I walked away instantly knowing I had failed. In my lack of confidence and courage I denied the fullness of my relationship with God.
This event has been on my mind for weeks. To the point I became obsessed “making up for it”. I went to the I am Second website and another shirt to help push this message at any future events where it seems appropriate. I ordered tracts so if I found myself frozen and without words I would have something to reference. I prayed for forgiveness for denying my relationship with Christ and am looking forward to my next encounter. What happened next showed me I not only need to be prepared for future opportunities, but I need to seek out this individual somehow and revisit the subject of why I Am Second.
NOW FOR THE INTERESTING PART – –
I had been praying a lot about the event above. Praying for a new opportunity and encouragement to see the power these interactions can have. Last night I received a bundle of items from the home of my grandmother who recently passed away. As I was going through them I came across a letter dated 1973 in my grandma’s impeccable handwriting (a lost art).
“Dear Mister H__________,
You waited on my son and I one evening last week and sold us a blue blazer and slacks. I want to thank you so much for your attention. We had actually been to every store in this town and could not understand why we could not find a coat for him. I am a Christian and had prayed about this before we ever started looking and could not really understand why we didn’t find something. The day we came to your shop my son wanted to go to B________ and order a jacket for $75, but I wanted to look in your store one more time. I now know this was Gods plan. Because as you were talking to me my heart went out to you and I wanted to tell you that there is a way of life that is better than the way you are going. I could see that you have a bitterness in your soul because of the blow life has dealt you.
I have no idea what you believe about God but his word says that He loves the whole world (that’s you and me) so much that he gave his only son, that whosoever (that’s us too) believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. That everlasting life starts the moment after you invite Jesus Christ into you heart. Not after you die, but now. You said you have died twice, have you ever wondered why God allowed you to live? It’s for this very reason I have just been telling you. The knowledge of eternal life is the best gift I can give you. It’s not for sale, no price under the sun could purchase it. It’s a free gift!!
I’m thanking God already for your salvation. He wants you to have that abundant, free life, where there is pure joy & happiness.
We attend Church at _______ and my husband and I and our pastor would love to talk to you about the way of truth.
I know that God brought this letter to me not long after my missed opportunity of sharing at the sports event a few weeks ago as an example of how to make it right. I now plan to seek out the individual I failed to share with and provide him with more information of the loving Lord and Savior with whom I have decided to spend ever day. To finish out the example of what a profound impact our sharing can have on other, also included in the items I received was a letter from this gentleman back to my grandmother thanking her for her words. Stating that her words had a life changing affect on him and he now has a peace about his circumstances. PRAISE GOD!
There are no coincidences with God… I am convinced these are Divine Appointment, we just need to be aware enough to notice and brave enough to embrace them.
Watch your calendar and see what appointments God presents to you this week…. Be blessed.
Luke 9:26New International Version (NIV)
26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
2 Timothy 1:8New International Version (NIV)
8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
(Closing note: after five minutes on Google I located the gentleman my grandmother witnessed to in a 1930’s census. It listed others in the household and I was able to track down living relatives…. some of whom are close family friends who we see on a regular basis! God is amazing!)