Just as Jennifer was about to take freshly washed sheets to the backyard clothesline, she heard a knock at the kitchen door. Through the curtain she recognized the silhouette of her friend from down the street, Sarah. In tow were her two little boys.
Not another interruption, Jennifer thought. Between the cleanup of spilled orange juice in the fridge and the talkative A/C repair man, I’m never going to get the laundry done and finish vacuuming before I have to pick up Josh at preschool. Jennifer’s to-do list was longer than usual, and with company coming for the weekend, there was a deadline, too. Today was the only day she didn’t have to be at the floral shop where she worked part-time.
Jennifer could have pretended she wasn’t home, but felt compelled to open the door. She was so glad she did. Sarah was crying, although trying to hold back in front of her boys.
“Come on out to the yard with me,” suggested Jennifer, as she hefted the laundry basket once more. “The boys can play on the swing set and we can talk.”
While the two women hung sheets, Sarah confessed that her husband, Rob, had become very angry that morning and hit her. Hard. Sarah desperately needed someone to talk to.
Oh, Lord. What if I hadn’t opened that door?” thought Jennifer.
* * * * * * * * * *
Amy stood in line at the grocery store with her two-year old son strapped into the child’s seat. Behind her was an older gentleman.
“That’s a cute little boy you’ve got there,” he said. “Too bad they can’t stay cute and little.”
Amy smiled. “I guess we just have to look for the positives of each stage as they grow.”
“Yeah, well, there’s not much positive in a grown son who’s become a religious fanatic,” he replied. “Always talking about Jesus.”
Amy was shocked speechless. What an odd comment to make to a stranger.
It was Amy’s turn to line up her groceries on the conveyor belt; the conversation stopped.
In the parking lot, no sooner had Amy loaded her groceries into the trunk, than that same gentleman came walking toward her. His car was directly across from her. It seemed too coincidental.
I need to say something to him, don’t I, Lord, Amy thought, to let him know that Jesus is not who he’s been led to believe. Help me speak your words to him! And calm these butterflies, please!
With Sam still strapped in the child’s seat, Amy walked her cart across the aisle. “Sir,” she began. “I just wanted you to know that I’m a believer in Jesus, too. He’s made a huge difference in my life, and I am very glad I said yes to him!”
The man actually smiled. “Thank you, young lady.”
Two cars turned into their aisle, one from each direction. Amy had to get her cart out of the way, to open up the parking space where she stood.
“Well, good-bye, and God bless you!” she called as she scurried across, already praying. Oh, Father. Did I say enough? Were those the words he needed to hear? Use this encounter to get him thinking. May he reconsider what his son has been trying to tell him.
* * * * * * * * * *
At the end of a Sunday morning worship service, Sylvia and Michelle saw Cindy walk down to the altar. Cindy had been attending for a few weeks, and had even joined the choir.
The two friends left their seats to join Cindy. Her hands were already wiping away tears; her shoulders shook.
“Is there anything specific we can pray with you about?” Sylvia asked softly. Cindy shook her head.
So Michelle began to thank God for his peace and comfort when we’re hurting, for his power to handle any situation, for his wisdom and guidance to deal with challenging decisions.
Cindy continued to cry uncontrollably.
Michelle stopped praying. She felt a nudging in her spirit to ask, “Cindy, do you remember the day when you invited Jesus to be a part of your life?” She shook her head, no.
And so Sylvia and Michelle joyfully introduced Cindy to the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace.
The crying stopped, and Cindy broke into a radiant smile.
* * * * * * * * * *
Each day we have the choice to embrace God-ordained opportunities. Opportunities like:
- Inconvenient Interruptions
- Coincidental Encounters
- Whispered instructions
And no doubt your heart cries out as mine does: Lord, may I not miss a one!
Now, it’s confession time. These stories are based on actual events. Jennifer, Amy, and Michelle are really one person. Me.
Not that I have recognized or stepped out in faith in response to every opportunity God has provided. Far from. But as I recall times such as those described above, my resolve is strengthened.
I’m trying to remember: We will never regret embracing God-inspired opportunities; it’s the missed opportunities for which we will carry remorse.