April 29, 2016
Last week in That’s Not My Thing, God I wrote about how we often talk about our desire to follow God, to do His will, to let Him direct our steps. Then when He makes His will clear, we question it. Is that really you, God? Are you sure? Because I don’t really want to do THAT. What are my other options?
As I wrote that piece, God brought a priceless story about my youngest son John to mind. He reminded me that we need to let go of asking God to tell us what we want to hear and just let Him tell us what HE wants us to do. Then obey. Like my boy.
John is 10 years old. One of the greatest life lessons I ever learned about obedience happened about 3 years ago. On a rare sports-free weekend we had loaded up our Suburban and we were headed to the mountains for a couple of down days to just relax. We got through the getaway traffic and we decided to stop at Costco to treat everyone to frozen yogurt.
As we pulled into the parking lot we saw a man on the corner who appeared to be homeless. He had a small sign and was asking for help. John asked about the man. We told him we could pray for him and we continued on into the store. We ate our treats and loaded back into the car for the second half of the drive. We drove past the man again as we were leaving the lot. We were barely past him when Derek and I started asking what we had in the cooler that was non-perishable that we could share with him. Derek turned at the next driveway and pulled back into the shopping center. We jumped out and gathered some fruit and snacks and bottles of water and Gatorade from the back of the car to give to the man.
We drove back to the corner where he was standing and Derek pulled the car over out of the way. He got out of the car and started to walk toward the man. About the same time my 7-year old opened the door and jumped out to follow his dad. Derek turned around and looked at me as if to say “Why is he following me?” I just shrugged my shoulders and mouthed “He wants to go with you.” Derek and John approached the man and Derek offered him the food.
Then from the mouth of my baby comes “Can we pray for you?”
The man said yes, he would like that. He got down on his knees in front of my boy and my son placed his hands on the man’s shoulders without any hesitation and he began to pray for him. My husband watched and listened and I could tell from his expression he was stunned. Tears fell from my eyes as I witnessed this scene from the car.
John finished and the man thanked him. Derek and John got back to the car and we scrambled to see what else we could give him. We always keep a couple of blankets in the car so Derek brought them over to the man. He was grateful.
Derek got back in the car and began to drive off. We drove in silence for a couple of minutes and then Derek said he could hardly put into words what he had just witnessed. He said when John started to pray for the man the words that came from his mouth did not sound like a 7-year-old. He prayed that the man would find a place to live, that he would have food to eat and that God would take care of him. Derek said it sounded so mature and so clear. The man was so receptive and so appreciative.
For the remainder of the drive (and truly, the rest of the weekend and following weeks and months) we talked about this moment. We asked John why he had jumped out of the car. He couldn’t really articulate it, he just felt he should. He was so bold in his actions. He wasn’t fearful at all. He wasn’t afraid to talk to the man or touch the man. What we considered so inspiring and so bold he just took for granted. God asked him to get out of the car and pray for the man so he did.
Over the weekend we talked a lot about that man. John wondered repeatedly if we thought the man had found a place to live. He asked if we could go back on Sunday and check to see if he was still there.
We did go by on Sunday to go grocery shopping on our way home. The man was not there. Other people sometimes stand on that corner but we have never seen that man again. John believes in his whole heart that God helped that man because he prayed. I have to believe this too.
My youngest son and those few moments on that dark evening a few years ago taught me a lesson in obedience that I will never forget. When the spirit of God moves you to act, don’t hold back. Don’t second guess. Don’t wonder “Is that really you prompting me God?” Just jump out of the car and walk forward boldly.
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17