Recently, I got an excited voice mail message from an old friend. She said, “Karen! Something happened to me today, and I felt like I really should tell you about it. Call me!”
In my author life, sometimes I have to screen calls (like when I’m writing) and I don’t always get to answer back as quickly as I’d like, but who could resist a message like that? Needless to say, I called her right back as soon as I heard it.
And she proceeded to tell me the most wonderful story…
Apparently some time ago – in “Christmas past” -- my friend was at a gas station and she saw a family in a nearby car, getting gas. Suddenly, the Lord spoke to her and said, “Go give them $20.00.”
Well, as many of us have done in that scenario, my friend began to rationalize: “Lord, they don’t look like they need $20.00. And besides, if I just march over to them in a gas station waving money, they’ll think I’m nuts! They don’t even know me. What if I’m not hearing from God? What if….” and on and on. (I’m sure you’ve never had that conversation in your head, right?)
She managed to talk to herself just long enough until – you guessed it – the car pulled away. Whew! For about 3 seconds she felt relief. And then came the inevitable guilt. Phooey. Here she had been asking God to use her to bless people, and He gave her the opportunity, but she blew it (just keep smiling and no one will know that you may or may not have blown it too, at some point).
My friend prayed, “Lord, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me, and give me another chance.”
You Know There’s More
Fast forward to “Christmas present” and the reason for her call. She was sitting in her car in the parking lot at Wal Mart and out came a lady with her grocery cart completely loaded down. As my friend put it, “she couldn’t have put another grape in that cart – it was packed!”
And suddenly the Lord spoke to my friend and said, “Go give that lady $20.00.” Coincidentally, she had just been to the ATM where the Lord had instructed her to take out an extra $20.00 (Imagine that!). But even still, immediately the thought came, “That lady does not look like she needs $20.00! Do you see her cart?”
But wait! Thankfully, the Lord also brought back to my friend’s remembrance that scenario at the gas station, and how she had asked for another chance.
Out of the car she jumped! She made a bee line for loaded-cart lady, handed her the money and said, “The Lord told me to give you this.” As she told me the story, my friend’s voice got so excited: “Karen, you should have seen her face! She teared up and a huge smile just broke out – she was so happy and so thankful!”
The woman thanked her over and over, saying “You don’t even know! You made my month. Thank you!” As you can imagine, my friend got back in the car thanking God for a second chance and for blessing that lady.
This story blessed me so much! Here are my take-aways:
- First, I’ve all been there. I’ve hung back from obeying, from reaching out, from taking the risk. It’s inspiring to hear and be reminded that we ALL need to look outside ourselves and be a light to the world, don’t we. It’s why we’re here.
- Second, there’s just nothing better than being used by God. Nothing.
- Third, be careful what you pray for, you might just get it! We’ve probably all prayed “Lord, use me” or “Lord, make me a blessing” (at least, I hope we have). But it takes faith to bless people, doesn’t it? The devil will fight you. Do it anyway. It’s always worth it. And it’s such a good idea to obey God ALL THE TIME, even if we miss it. When He knows He can trust us to step out, He’ll use us more and more.
- Fourth, isn’t God good? Of course He forgave my friend’s hesitancy at the gas station, and of course He gave her another chance. He’s done it for me. I’m sure He’s done it for you, too. He is the God of forgiveness and another chance!
I’ll bet in “Christmas future” my friend is quick to respond to the nudge of God and step out in obedience, even if it’s hard. Hopefully you and I will too. Get out there and be a blessing today! Merry Christmas and much love to you and yours.