I Would Have Missed It!

"More To The Story" -John D. Austin

A few weeks back I found myself running way behind schedule.  I had so many things to accomplish on my list.  Walking through a huge hardware store to quickly grab a few things, I paused to look at another item.  While seeking something very specific, one of the store’s employees stopped to check on me.  He was a sweet older gentleman, a tender grandpa type, with silver hair and a soft disposition.  He tried to help, but they did not have anything like what I was hoping for.

As our conversation continued, he told me he was a pastor who had left the church completely.  He had been so hurt and beat-up by the people, he just never went back.  Sadly, I have seen this happen too many times.  I listened for a long time as he openly shared his story and handed me his heart.  He acknowledged that he too had made mistakes along the way and knew he should not have allowed people to keep him away so long.  With all the things that transpired over the years, he knew God would forgive him, but he could not forgive himself.

As he came to the end of his story, God spoke to me in a way He had never done before.  God said, “Ask him if he’s bigger than Me.”  To which I replied, “What?”  Again, God’s voice was so clear, “Ask him if he’s bigger than Me.”  Here I am, standing in front of a total stranger who’s opening up some very deep personal things, and God wants me to ask him a smart-alack question?  After wrestling with the thought internally for a few moments, I knew not to ignore this command, so I waited for the man to pause.

I took a deep breath and softened my face as much as I could, “Are you bigger than God?”

He asked me then to repeat my question, as if he didn’t completely hear what I had said.  I asked the question again.  “Are you bigger than God?”.  His eyes began to fill with tears, and he wanted to know what made me ask this particular question.  I told him the truth.  “God told me to.”  More tears filled his eyes as he shared that I was the second person to ask him that very question in the last two weeks.

Sometimes God pours words through me, and I too begin to learn the lesson being relayed to others.  I know it is completely God and not of my own knowledge.  This was again the case as I began to speak.  “To deny ourselves forgiveness is like telling God we’re bigger than He is.  If God cannot forgive my sin, then I must be God.  To say to God, I know You forgive me, but I cannot forgive myself, is saying Jesus is not enough.”

I suggested to the gentleman that God must care very deeply for him, and wanted him to grab hold of the forgiveness extended his way.  It was time to leave the past behind and choose to allow God to fill his life today.  He called me a few months later to tell me that he went back to church and re-dedicated his life to Christ.

I did not want to stand there that day and hear his story.  I was so full of anxiety over it being just me now (since the loss of my husband), and the weight of the never-ending to-do list on my shoulders.  I simply wanted to get things done and get home.  Look at what I would have missed!

As I read through Exodus, I see how bad things got for the people of Israel while Moses was being obedient to what God asked him to do.  Moses even questioned God.

“So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people?  Why is it You have sent me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” -Exodus 5:22-23

Why did God delay bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt?  He promised He was going to set them free in this way, so why allow all these plagues to happen first?  Moses pretty much told God He didn’t make any sense.  Moses could not see beyond where he was standing and the situation he was in.  He could not see ahead to what God already knew.

“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” -Exodus 7:5

for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.” -Exodus 9:14

The Egyptian Pharaohs believed they were themselves a god.  God revealed to the Egyptians His absolute power and reign over the earth and man.  God always has a purpose.  Our delays are nothing less than God being right on time.

God cares for others with the same love and compassion He cares for me.  If my being in this place is to benefit the kingdom as a whole, then I am exactly where I should be .  My comfort level is not the issue, my obedience and trust in God is.  How much do I trust Him with my life?

There’s a bigger picture to unfold.  God is painting a beautiful masterpiece and will reveal it only when He is finished.  I am nothing less than self-centered to think my delayed request, or God’s “Wait”, has everything to do with me.  He has a master plan and many whom He hears and loves and is leading to Himself.

I would have missed a beautiful portrait had I continued to rush through my day, and would have missed seeing God touch the heart of that dear soul in the hardware store.  No doubt, this journey of life has lead me down a few roads of pain, but God has been guiding my steps to the exact places He’s needed me to be.  That’s a beauty that can only come from His brush strokes.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  ~ Albert Einstein

Will you share a story with me?  Do you have a time when a delay changed your mindset?

May You Walk In Boldness and Love Today,
Shannan Parker
copyright Feb. 2 ‘2010

Dear God, Please keep our minds and our hearts focused on You.  Guide our footsteps.  Let not one be taken in vain.  Father, help us to see others around us, and be ready to respond in times of need.  In Jesus name, amen.

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