Last week I mentioned I felt I may be doing good works to please others or even myself. I believed I was doing what God had shown me, so how was I working to please others?
God gave me the desire to help a single woman with a tiny baby. I loved the bright smile of the little girl and getting to know her mother and how I could best help them. I helped her with a resume and how to search for a job. Then one day she said, “I am a single mother, I should be given enough money that I don’t have to leave my child to work.”
Another woman I befriended was in an abusive relationship. After she was taken to the hospital with broken ribs, I offered to help her move to a women’s shelter. She declined my offer. The situation was similar to one I had been through a couple years ago. I helped that lady move out only to have her move right back in.
I started a self-esteem support group for women. The first three-month session, six women came and I saw real improvement in two of them. The second session, no one came.
Was I doing things on my own or was God really guiding me to these people? I was becoming discouraged when I didn’t see the results I expected. That’s it! I was waiting for the outcome I wanted. Doing God’s will isn’t a matter of seeing the results I want. I knew when I connected my work with a favorable outcome that I was working for myself. God led me to be a positive light to others and He would use it to His benefit. I may only be watering a seed that may not be ripe to harvest for years. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23
Have you ever felt God asked you to do something but it didn’t turn out the way you expected? How did you react? Discouraged? Disappointed? Doubted that you even heard God? How did you regain your trust in your feeling God’s guidance?
One Sunday I was busy cleaning up the dining hall following coffee hour after church. A lady came in who I did not recognize. She looked lost and a little confused. I introduced myself and asked if I could help her.
She told me her story. She was in Lebanon for the first time, visiting her sister who had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Her sister had not been eating or drinking much but for the first time in weeks she had requested something to drink. Specifically, she wanted diet decaf green tea. Being a loving sister, this lady headed out to drive around the unfamiliar town in search of a store. She saw our doors open and decided to stop and see if we, by chance, had any of the needed tea.
“Let me look,” I offered. I dearly wanted to help but I hadn’t remembered seeing any diet tea of any kind on the shelf. The church seldom served tea and the few boxes available were on the bottom shelf. I was about to apologize to the lady when I saw the corner of a box behind some paper cups. A smile lit my face as I pulled the diet decaf green tea out and gave it to this woman.
Matthew 7:7 promises, “Ask and it will be given to you.” I had silently asked but hadn’t believed. Still God supplied the answer for this devoted woman and her dying sister. Why do I sometimes doubt when God is so faithful to answer? Maybe I was looking for the answer in the human world.
Have you ever been surprised that God answered your specific prayer?
“Seek and you will find.” I always thought that part of Matthew 7:7 referred to deep, spiritual truths. But Jesus cares about our everyday concerns and recently showed me how this verse applied to me.
One evening, a dog I was caring for touched the electric fence beyond the front yard. Her yipping pierced the air as she ran to hide. I found her and petted her soft head until she stopped shaking. I tried consoling her with dinner when I noticed that my dog, Annie was missing. The howling must have scared her. I called her name and looked in her usual hiking places. She had never run off and I grew more concerned as darkness set in.
The next morning, my husband, Jon, set out early to look for her at the neighbors and across the river at the park. No Annie.
I went to Sunday school. My thoughts were on Annie’s whereabouts. I needed to look for her, so I left before church was over and drove down the main street of our community. I asked God to show me where to look. I saw a yard sale sign, which was unusual for a Sunday. I stopped in front of the driveway lined with miscellaneous items. “Have you seen a lost dog?” I asked. My hopes built when they said a lady just left with one and pointed toward the end of the street. I quickly drove there and was reunited with my loving Annie.
Annie must have followed the car down the driveway when Jon went to the other farm shortly after the howling incident. This woman and her kids were playing in the river and Annie joined them. They took her home for the night and had just returned to Waterloo to look for her owner. If I had waited until the end of church to look, I would have missed our meeting. But I think my Guide knew that.
Have you ever lost something and asked God to help you find it? How did He show it to you?
Wow! I received a letter from Publishers Clearing House and I MAY have already won millions of dollars! What will I do first? Travel? New car? College for my grandson? No worries; there is enough for all my dreams.
Wait, there is a warning: “Failure to follow…serious forfeiture of money.” I wonder how forfeiting millions of dollars is not serious. Anyway, all I have to do is find the labels, scattered throughout the stack of ads, notices and magazine offers, and stick them in the correct places. Then send it in and I have a one-in-a-bazillion chance of winning!
How many people get their hopes up to receive everything they ever wanted for just returning an envelope? There is a better way to receive the biggest treasure of all: peace and eternal life. There is a catch; you have to believe in Jesus. But that’s it. No sorting papers or sticking labels.
John 3:16 promises, “God so loved the world (that includes you), that He gave his one and only son, that whoever (that’s you, again) believes (one simple step) in him shall not (guaranteed) perish but have eternal life (the greatest treasure). (NIV)
Is your faith in winning the lottery or in trusting God?
A group of five women in our church decided to meet once a week to pray for a deeper relationship with our Lord for ourselves and throughout the church. One night we held hands in the sanctuary and offered our lives to God. As we finished praying the bells in the church tower chimed. We quietly soaked in the soothing tones.
Several days later I commented to someone at church that it was nice to have the bells repaired and playing again, even if it was ten minutes after and not right on the hour. She was surprised and informed me that her husband had been working on them. They were not operating but they also had been disconnected so there was no power to them.
The following prayer night, we discussed the mystery of the chimes. There was no doubt the music came from the tower. After praying, our fellowship ended at ten minutes until the hour and again the chimes rang out. Was this confirmation that our prayers were heard?
Have you had a time something happened that you couldn’t explain? Was God involved?