It is not what we do for God, but what God does through us. Most of us want a majestic purpose. I have learned simply to be available and answer the call no matter how inadequate I feel or how poorly I deliver the message.
Available for the Call
A call came from someone I had met only once. You generally cannot visit my house without me sharing some aspect of my faith and I must have mentioned something about mentoring. Months later he calls me and asked if I would speak to a friend of his. A few questions revealed this woman was recently homeless, penniless, without a job, angry, blaming, addicted and she had a strong dislike of Christians. Well….ah…let me see, this should be fun.
The Holy Spirit nudged me to learn from some of my past blunders and I put a few stipulations on the visit. First I wanted him to share his faith with this friend and I wanted her to know I was willing to talk to her but only if she knew the subject was going to be Jesus. You see, if someone is not willing to give 51% then I needed to consider where I utilize my time. Harsh, perhaps, but I wanted to be an instrument used by God where we might actually get down to some serious business.
The Place Where God Starts to Look Appealing
Broken, lost, hopeless, self-loathing, without purpose, seeking something of a permanent solution…yes that is a good place to be and generally when God starts to look very appealing.
I was assured all was in order and I invited his friend to my house. I was outside, setting up my wooden reindeer I just bought at the craft fair. I have this perfect stranger (one who has a distaste for Christians) coming over to my house to talk about Jesus. Holy cow. I introduced her to my happy faced reindeer and invited her in. I had a fire blazing in the fireplace and we sat down to “chat.”
What Would Jesus Do?
I am anything but conventional, so I speak flat out honestly and I say “so isn’t this something. You no sooner get to your friend’s house then they put you on the phone with a perfect stranger and tell you to go see this woman and talk to her.” She said yes it was a bit strange. I asked a few questions and realized she had not heard the guy’s testimony, she did not know I was a “religious person” and she had NOT been told that she was coming to see me to hear about Jesus. Duped again! Well, one thing I am not is a quitter. So I asked myself, “what would Jesus do?”
He Would Want to Hear the Story
He would want to hear her story. So I opened with “I understand you have yourself in one heck of a pickle.” As you can see, I am famous for my opening remarks. I gave a very poor rendition of my own testimony which was very much shortened due to the circumstances.
She asked me if I was a counselor. I said “not exactly, but I have been given every experience and I have been in some pickles myself and I could most likely just relate to what you might want to say.” So she talked and I listened. Within seconds I had to go in search of the extra-soft Kleenex. She went on to say she is a very private person, never tells anything personal to anyone and then she spilled her guts. This often happens to me.
I said “so you are told to go visit this perfect stranger, who happens to have an opening for you at 4 pm, you find out after you arrive that she is a “religious person” and you spill your guts to her anyway. I think we can safely assume this is a Divine appointment.” I went on to tell her that I had been praying for her since I had received the friend’s call earlier in the week. I also told her I asked my friends (who I had ditched at the craft fair where I got the reindeer) to pray for her and what did she think about that!
Oh How We Need God
Every single time we try to rule the world and be the emperor of our own lives, we fail. She sobbed, “look at me I am 42 and I have wrecked everything and I have absolutely no purpose.” I told her to have no fear. I was 50 before I got the picture! One-upmanship is very important when you share your failings of how long it took to get some clear understanding of God’s purpose for your life.
I wanted to see what Jesus saw when He looked at her. I asked her who she was that was precious under all that self-hate and disappointment she had in herself and she could not think of a thing. I asked her to dream of what tomorrow might be like if she could make right all she had done. She said she did not have a dream. She was simply hopeless.
No Place To Go But Up
And like my opening remarks, my follow-up remarks were also quite eloquent. I said “well it looks like you have no place to go but up.” We talked for over two hours. I asked her if she died tonight, what did she think would happen to her. She said “I will go to Hell for all I have done.” But she followed that with not being at all sure there is a God.
I said “you know it all started with that first couple, Adam and Eve. They were in paradise yet God told them they could have anything except they were NOT to eat from that tree. That darned pesky serpent (the devil) convinced them it would be ok, and those two messed up everything for many lifetimes.” “You know those addictions you have and that bad behavior, well, thank Adam and Eve for that. God determined a penalty for this bad behavior, this disobedience, it is called sin and the penalty is death.” Would have been real nice if I could have quoted that scripture and referenced it but… would it really? This woman did not want to hear bible passages. She dislikes those “religious types.” God has blessed me with an inability to memorize and quote scripture and all for such a time as this. Halleluiah!
I told her she did not have to be doomed to Hell. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. God is God, Jesus is God’s son, but Jesus is God too but that is too much for right now and we will get to that later on, and then there is something called the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God too and when you decide to quit running the world and trying to run your own life, and you put your hope and faith in God, letting Him run things, God sends the Holy Spirit to live within you. He will show you the right way to live. Then you will start to get these gentle nudges from the Holy Spirit about what you should do and not do.
You Just Talk to God
I caught my breath and figured I had totally confused her and she said, “well I think I need this and how do I do this.” I said “well you just talk to God. You tell Him you are sorry for all the dirty rotten things you have done. I can tell that you are sincere about this. I can see you hate yourself over all these bad decisions you have made. God wants you to be sincere. Then you ask Him to forgive you. He will you know. All you have to do is ask with a sincere heart and in an instant, the blink of an eye, He wipes it all away. He won’t bring it up again during an argument, He wipes it away permanently. You start with a clean slate. Then you ask Him to take over running your life. You ask Him in. When you do this it is called being born again. You are saved from death from your sins, you will live an eternity in Heaven.”
This is probably when people get really nervous and they think I am going to ask them to do something they don’t know if they want to do. So I said “you can do this all by yourself alone in front of God. You can do this with me. But most important, you don’t have to do it at all. You should not do this for me. I actually don’t care if you do or don’t, but I want you to be sure that if you do want to make this choice you are sure and you are sincere. Don’t do it for me as I don’t count in this picture. Do it for you.”
We talked more and she realized how long she had been at my house, we had run out of tissues and were going to have to get another box and she said she needed to be leaving. I told her again all she had to say to get God into her life. Again I told her that she did not have to do this. It was her choice and it was not about me. She paused as she was eyeing the door, I did say that I would be willing to pray with her if she wanted. She said “I don’t think I could do this without your help.”
First Conversation With The King
So I moved her over to the chair right next to where I was sitting on the couch and I took hold of her hands and I started to pray praising God for this Divine appointment. I told God I was sure that Melissa was sorry for all the things she had done. I turned it over to Melissa to talk to God and that very day Melissa had her first conversation with The King. Then I started to cry which kept me from saying any more profoundly ridiculous things.
She asked if she could start this relationship with God without having to go to church. I said sure. I said I had just the place for her. We have this “non-church” thing going on in Greenwood and we meet on Wednesday’s to “do life together.” Then once a month we don’t have church!! But we meet in someone’s living room sort of like we have done right here today. We share our struggles and we sing a few praises to the One who will transform you.” (This is what CCG Connection Church of Greenwood is all about and why I am excited!!)
My parting words to Melissa as she left were to tell her that if she was hit by a truck on her way back to her friends, she would now go to Heaven instead of Hell. Yeah I know, I am not all that great at speaking. Better stick to writing. I also warned her she would start to feel differently because of the choice she made today. I told her to carefully chart these changes because she would be transformed into something unrecognizable. I told her what I used to be and what I am now. She said, no way that could not happen to her.” I just smiled as my God takes hopeless and turns it into Hope.
I called my daughter in Christ, Kirbie tonight to tell her all about it. In my excitement I told her all the goofy things I said and she said “but did you share the gospel, the whole gospel, did you make it all clear.” And she started to share the gospel with me asking if I had said all of it. That’s my girl. My little missionary who is sharing Jesus without fear.
God Can Use Anybody
Christmas started for me yesterday. A perfect stranger came to my house. I shared my tissues and my God. His grace saved her. See, God can use anybody. You can blunder through, say stupid stuff and people’s lives get changed…saved. So fear not. Share Jesus. Think how many people have no idea how this works and how thankful they are when you take a few hours out of your day to invite a stranger in and show the reason for your hope.
She texted me the next morning and thanked me for taking the time and she reported that she did indeed feel differently today. God never breaks His promises.