I can remember the morning as if it were yesterday. I was a stay-at-home mom with two children under the age of three. Like most mornings, one of the kids had awakened way too early, and we were all ready to get out of the house by 8 a.m. I had the brilliant idea to take them to the local library where they could be shushed by someone other than me. One hour later (because that’s how long it actually takes to leave a house with small children), we headed out for our great adventure. I soon found myself desperately holding two kids at the library front doors, only to see a sign that said it opened at 10:00. Now I was faced with a true dilemma: accept the wasted effort, strap them back in the car seats and head back to a whiney day at home OR take them to the park beside the library and spend an hour chasing them? I reluctantly chose the latter, mainly to avoid the disappointment of a cancelled outing. We had been on the swings for about ten minutes when I saw another minivan pull around the corner. My first thought was, “I’m so glad that I’m not the only mom who thought the library opened at 9:00!” I was surprised, however, when the van didn’t continue to the library parking lot but instead stopped right at the park. As I watched another mom wearily grab the hand of her little girl and start walking towards us, I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit say, “Will you be interruptible?”
You see, the day before my failed library visit, I had the privilege to preach at our church’s weekly women’s service. I had spoken about the Good Samaritan, and how he models for us how we can show Jesus to those in need. One of my three main points had been to, “Stay interruptible.” The message had been well-received, with many women committing to a renewed sense of purpose and mission to respond to the needs of others. And here I was, the very next morning, with my challenge to others being directed right back at me.
Even after my heart answered, “Yes”, I was then faced with the awkward moment of how to initiate a conversation with a stranger. Being a natural introvert, I’m not typically one to strike up random conversations—especially when I look the way I did that morning! I looked as weary as I felt–with no make-up, hair in a ponytail and likely a mismatched outfit that belonged only at home. Thankfully, the stranger brought her daughter to the same swing set where I was, so the natural proximity opened the door for a chat. I started by asking her how old her daughter was, all the time knowing that in the midst of “small chat”, I was smack dab in the middle of a divine encounter.
As the story unfolded, I soon learned that her family had recently moved to Virginia Beach. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she told me that her husband was unemployed and she was looking for a teaching job. She had a degree but needed time to get her regular license renewed, which only allowed her to work in preschools. The moment she shared that detail, I knew why God allowed our paths to cross. Not only was I able to pray with her that morning, I was able to facilitate an interview at our church’s preschool, where she ended up getting a job. Her daughter was able to come to work with her, and it was the exact placement needed for their family during that season. I love this story because God provided both a spiritual AND tangible answer to what was needed.
I have been a Christian now for over thirty-five years. The challenge is that you never arrive to the point of saying, “I’ve given enough” or “I’m just too tired”. The principle of “Whatever it takes” is one that continually pushes each of us to step out of our comfort zones and to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. As Rom 15:1-2 reminds us, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
The beauty of these “inconvenient moments” is that you typically discover that you are capable of more than you ever dreamed possible. You start to see God’s hand at work, even in life’s “curveballs”. Who knew that a chance encounter between two haggard moms at a playground could unlock destiny and show God’s provision at its finest?
Devoted Devotional By Heidi DeVerna