Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Random Moments

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:
who went about doing good,
and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;
for God was with Him."
Acts 10:38

The other day, we stepped into a little coffee shop in Helen called "Higher Ground".
I love the name!
I ended up ordering an iced decaf., and Kevin and Zach decided to share a frozen lemonade.

Kevin was really suffering that day.
Can I tell you how many ways my heart goes out to him?
I pray so hard for his healing.

After I got my coffee and walked over to sit down with him and Zach,
he decided to move to a comfy chair near the window.
It was a lot softer and easier on his back.

I looked over at him, and my heart broke, as I sensed his pain.


 Could I ever put into mere words how much I love this man?
How much I appreciate him and the daily sacrifices he makes 
so Zachary's and my needs are met?

"Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"
Proverbs 20:6

Just as a virtuous woman has worth beyond measure,
so does a faithful man.

They are few and far between...especially, in this day and age.
How did so many things...including marriage....become disposable?
Why do we go into such serious commitments with the preconceived notion
that if this one doesn't work out, we will move on to another one?
Whatever happened to sticking it out....through thick and thin...
poverty and prosperity....
sickness and health?

After a few moments of watching him there...
knowing he was really pushing against it to show us a fun day....
realizing the amazing worth and value of such a grace-covered, faith-filled husband like him....
loving him from the core of my soul.....
I noticed the neat sign above his head.


Soon, Zach decided to go over and join his Daddy.


I watched them together, as I studied the sign.
Pondered its words,
"Share a random moment".

Is any moment random...really?

Are we ever where we are...at any given moment....by accident?
Do people cross our path, then walk on, without any purpose?

Lately, we've been experiencing some unusual encounters.
We have come to call them our "assignments".

I can't really explain it.
It just keeps happening...
ever since we began praying the prayer of Jabez.
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying,
Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed,
and enlarge my coast,
and that thine hand might be with me,
and that thou wouldest keep me from evil,
that it may not grieve me!
And God granted him that which he requested."
I Chronicles 4:10

For instance, one day, we were traveling between Ohio and West Virginia, 
when we became hungry and pulled off the interstate with the intentions of 
stopping at the Wendy's we saw advertised on the exit sign.

Once we reached the end of the exit ramp,
we realized Wendy's was 3.2 miles away.
We considered driving on to another exit where we could find
a restaurant closer to the beaten path.
Something compelled us to stick to our original plan,
so we drove the 3.2 miles until Wendy's came into view.

When we reached the intersection with Wendy's on the right side,
I happened to look over at the restaurant directly across the street.
It was a pizza place, and since we are on a perpetual quest to find
the perfect-tasting New York style pizza,
we made a last-minute plan change and pulled into its parking lot instead.

When we went in, I noticed there was only two other customers....
a middle-aged woman and a little blonde-haired boy.

We ended up sitting right next to each other,
and after a few minutes, Zach took out some of his action figure toys 
to pass the time away until our meal was ready.

The little boy began eyeing Zach and his toys curiously,
until finally, Zach offered him to play with them.
As the boys played, I began talking to the woman.
Soon, I found out that the little boy was her grandson,
and her heart was heavily-laden with burdens.

Without going into explicit details,
her story broke my heart....in two.
Especially, the part when she told me about the home life of the sweet little boy
who was playing with Zach.

"I am going to pray for you", I said.

"I kind of felt like you would.
That's why I told you", she answered.

As I sat there, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me.
"Pray for her now", He gently prodded.

Cowardice rose within me.
"What if someone sees us?
What if they hear me?
What will they think?"
the voice of the enemy whispered.

Defiantly determined to overcome and mind God, I turned to the woman,
"In fact, I'd like to pray for you right now."

She immediately got up and walked over to take my hand.
We prayed.
Right there.
Unashamedly.
Fervently.
Near tears.

We took her burdens straight to the throne room of our Heavenly Father,
and we presented her case.
We prayed for the little boy, and his Mama. too.
We covered them with a blanket of genuine concern, love, and compassion.

After we finished, I think we all felt better.
I turned to the little boy.

"You know God is always with you....no matter what.
You can pray to Him anywhere at any time, and He always hears you.
If you are ever in trouble, you call out to Him, okay?"

He looked up at me...wide-eyed...trusting...taking in my words.

Soon, they left, and we watched them drive away.

"God bless them", I said once more, through tear-filled eyes.

I will more than likely never see them again.
I will probably never know the outcome of their sad, pitiful situation.
Our paths may never cross again.

But, I still pray for them.
I still mention their names to God.
He knows where they are.
I only know their first names....God knows their last.
His eye is watching over that precious, little boy,
and I trust Him to make a positive difference in his little life and predicament.

Was it a random encounter?
Were those moments there in the pizza place so far from home....random?
Did we just "happen" to end up there that day....at the exact, same time they did?

After a few encounters similar to this one,
we began writing down the names of the people involved...
in one of Zachary's notebooks.
We list their names and something that will jog our memory concerning their situation...

Our list is growing and getting bigger.

Lately, I've been trying to pay closer attention....
trying to look into the eyes of the ones I pass....
trying to make contact long enough to smile...even when they don't smile back....
trying to stay in constant tune with the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of me.

He is faithful.
To open doors.
To orchestrate seating arrangements.
To arrange and rearrange schedules....
so that Divine appointments can take place.

After they are over, I try to make a conscious effort to remember their needs.
Thank God, we have a Heavenly Father Who cares even more than we do.
Whose heart is broken as He watches His children weep.
Who told us to bear one another's burdens and therefore fulfill the law of His Son,
Who absolutely did the same...to the greatest degree possible.

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Precious words from Jesus' Own lips.

If He laid down His life, shouldn't we?

It is easier to turn the other way.
To ignore the pain-filled eyes.
To proudly comment that we sure are glad we aren't like them.
To puff up our self-righteous chests and walk away feeling superior.
To pretend it isn't happening.
To convince ourselves it is not our problem....
that the moments in this life are all just "random", meaningless, and without consequence.

I ask you this, my friend, did He...just walk away?
Did He overlook the heartache?
Didn't He pour Himself completely out....into the lives of others?
Didn't He give all He had...to make the most important difference in every, single life?

No encounter with Jesus is random.
It is all carefully-planned.
Appointed.
Part of the grand design.
And once we cross His path, we are never the same again.

Shouldn't it be that way with the ones we meet?
Shouldn't we allow our steaming food to cool off if someone really needs to talk?
Shouldn't we delay selfish interests if someone is pouring out their heart and needing prayer?
Shouldn't we investigate a tiny bit further once we spot hopelessness in someone's eyes?
Shouldn't we stop feeling "put off" and derailed by their aloofness or unfriendliness,
die out to selfishness and how things are affecting us,
and go the extra mile to be nice?
Shouldn't we leave them more hope-filled than they were when we found them?

What would Jesus do...in those not-so-random moments?
What did Jesus do?
When He was here?

He treated every person who crossed His path as if they and their problems
were the most important, pressing situation in the world.
He didn't pass judgment on their outward situation.
No matter how unGodly, smelly, afflicted, addicted, or far gone they were,
He stopped everything He was doing,
and He addressed their need(s).
Right then.
And there.
Without delay.

People don't care how much we know,
until they know how much we care.

We cannot ever expect to reach the spiritual need,
without first meeting the physical and emotional.

Waiting until later is unwise....
because every opportunity has a window of effectiveness.
Every chance to help someone has an expiration time and date.
People won't always be there...in your presence,
nor will they always need help.

People die.
They move on.
Their life improves....or gets worse.

We will one day die...pass off the scene....out into long eternity.
Will we have utilized every golden opportunity to bless another?
What exactly will we hear as we stand there....
just us and God....
on Judgment Day?
Will it be,
"Come, ye blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:
 I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me."
Matthew 25:34-40

OR will we hear,
"I never knew you: depart from me..."
Matthew 7:23

Pretty strong words...spoken by THE WORD....
words by which you and I will one day be judged.

God knows who can best help another.
You can reach those whom I could never reach.
We each have unique abilities, past experiences, and life lessons to share
that are completely our own.
God wants to turn our personal mess into our message....
our tests into our testimonies....
our lives into living, breathing instruments in which His Spirit dwells
and through which His voice speaks.

I truly believe our moments are never random.
I believe God has a timetable and a plan and a Divine agenda.
In His agenda, He plans out our days.
It is up to us to follow the plan,
listen to His still, small voice,
be alert for and mind the checks He faithfully sends,
roll with the changes He allows to intercept our carefully-planned schedules
and continually make the conscious choice to follow His agenda, not our own.
There is nothing random with Him.

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Romans 8:4

Walking after the Spirit, 
following His lead, 
pursuing His prompts,
will land us exactly where we are supposed to be,
when we are supposed to be there.

You will never regret minding God.
No matter where the road leads you,
how off the beaten path you are taken,
or by what extent your own agenda is altered.
God's agenda includes both sides of a situation.
He always works on both ends...
for the common good...
of all parties involved.

Who knows how many twists and turns came into that woman's day
in order to land her at the pizza place right when we were there.
And could the many stops we decided to make to take "just one more" photo
along the beautiful, mountain-strewn path have been the very interruptions
God sent to orchestrate the exact moment we would arrive there?

Did He draw our eyes to the beauties along the way...
just so we would stop in order to perfectly orchestrate His timing?

Did He cause us to notice the neat, old, weathered barns....






and the neatly-rolled bales of hay....


and the old, country churches that beckoned us to get off the interstate
to come aside and rest for a while.....



and the peaceful, country cemetery where I longed to linger
even longer than we did.....


and the majestic mountains that surrounded us on all sides?


I believe it is so.

I have come to trust God's detours.
I have learned that they lead to Divine appointments....and not-so-random moments,
and often they are sent to protect and defend us from satan's planned detriments.

I love reading the story about Peter and Cornelius in the 10th chapter of Acts.
Both men had something to learn.
God worked on both ends, preparing and opening both of their hearts,
 and He absolutely orchestrated their meeting.
Both men were edified, blessed, as they learned from each other.

There is a reason God places us in each other's lives.
It is never to hurt or offend or discourage one another.
It is always to sharpen each other's iron...
to encourage one another....
to lift and build each other up....
to fill each other's needs.

God has already set the appointments.
They are in the making.
He's already working on the other end.
All we have to do is be willing to show up,
follow His instructions,
and share the not-so-random moments.


12 comments:

  1. Beautiful, heart-felt, Jesus-filled random moments. Thank you for sharing your heart! I believe every moment is an opportunity for God's plan - it is our inconsistency that makes them random:)

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    1. I love that! "Our inconsistency is what makes them random." Lord, help me to be ever receptive to Your prompts and to always know that nothing in Your world is random! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind encouragement. Love, Cheryl

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  2. Not a random moment but a divine appointment. Your story is so precious from beginning to end. I understand about a husband suffering many times in silence. I will pray for your Kevin. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thank you so much, Hazel. I am so happy you stopped by. Thank you for your wonderful stories and link-up, and most of all for your prayers for Kevin. It means so much to talk to someone who understands. Love, Cheryl

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  3. I LOVE God's divine appointments!!

    Thank you for linking with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

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  4. Sometimes, we forgot how God is involved with the intimate details. Grateful for your insights.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer! I am so thankful He cares about us the way He does...and how He proves it in the details! Love, Cheryl

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  5. Thanks for the reminder that no moment is ever truly random. Thanks for sharing at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful, weekly link-up! God bless you. Love, Cheryl

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  6. Thank you for sharing about the cross and the amazing cross that showed up at your home. These are little surprises from our Lord as long as don't build a doctrine about it, we can enjoy the moment. Thank you for sharing at "Tell Me a Story." I had to come here, as your post did not seem to have a comment button, but this is a good substitute. ♥

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