Silent Encounter

The glass door of Rhonda’s Travel Agency closes behind me. I squeeze the handle of my briefcase, feeling satisfied that I’d done a good job of explaining her new business owner’s insurance policy. I’m focused on getting back to the office, and my steps are staccato as I cross the sun-heated tarmac of the parking lot toward my car.

A tiny ripple of apprehension comes and goes as a young man approaches me. He’s probably in his late teens, has a beautiful smile, bushy hair, sparkling dark skin, and clear, sincere eyes. He looks harmless, but something hangs around his neck.

I look closer. A little sign reads: “I am deaf,” and something nearly illegible about contributing a dollar.

I smile at him and he stops, still looking at me with his beautiful smile as I move to pass him by—an encounter that could have been—ignored.

He’d held up his sign. Had that been a flicker of hope I’d seen in his eyes?

I didn’t turn back. The moment of choice was gone. I’d chosen to pass by.

My office chair creaks. I stare down at my interview notes seeing a blur, and my heart is pinched with guilt and regret. Why had I walked by? He looked perfectly healthy . . . but I can’t know that.

My actions and justifying them play tennis in my head.

Why does this bug me so much? I could have given him some money, and I had the time. Do two seconds matter?

Other people must sometimes ignore someone asking for money like that young man did—don’t they?

You can’t give everyone everything!

I sit and think and replay and pray, but there is no do-over. I’d given him nothing but a smile and a prayer. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I did as I was supposed to do. Maybe not.

My thoughts aren’t quieted. The scene with Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, walking toward the Temple to pray drops into my mind. They could have passed the lame man by. They didn’t, and because they didn’t just pass by, many people became believers in Jesus.

A busy day over, the house is finally silent. In my cozy chair beside the open window, a soft night-breeze delivers the scent of gardenias and ruffles the pages of the magazine I’m reading:

“When we are caught off guard with the least preparation, some of the greatest things can happen. It’s important at all times that we be ready to act in the name of Jesus. That is why we have been given the name of Jesus to use.

“. . . Interruptions don’t have to be annoyances that hinder, but can be opportunities that bring glory to Christ and miracles to man.”

I lay Daily Blessing with its profound message, on my lap. I shouldn’t be amazed by happening to read this devotion after the “event” this morning—but I am.

There will be more of God’s children with needs. I’ll have more choices to make.

Learning sign language

I pray there’s a difference in my awareness of people and their needs—and through the power of the Holy Spirit—in the precious name of Jesus, I won’t pass by again without reaching out and loving them in the way you show me, Lord. Everything I have is yours, to use to your glory. Help me always to be aware and ready, to be prepared to share with your children. Pour your love through me.

Sally working late

Have you ever passed by someone in need and regretted your choice not to stop?

Love,

Sally

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:3-6)

Read about Peter and John in Acts 3:1-10, 4:4

All scripture is from The New King James Version of the Holy Bible

Assigned to Shadow . . .

This day, in awe, I fell on my face before the LORD, and I write what I saw that you will believe and see with me.

I am Lael, of the house of Levi, a descendent Gershonite.

I have attained the age of fourteen and am assigned to shadow and serve the prophet, Elisha, and his servants.

Days ago, meeting privately in his bedroom with his servants, the king of Syria had made clandestine plans for an attack against Israel, deciding where the attack would take place.

The Syrian king was unaware that what he planned in private was spoken by the LORD into the heart and mind of my master, Elisha.

I felt my master’s eyes upon me and turned to him.

“Lael! Come here lad. You must run. I have a message for the king of Israel.”

And I ran—my heart in a race with my feet—to warn the king of Israel. The king heeded my master’s message and was watchful.

But the king of Syria, advised by his servants that the king of Israel appeared to anticipate their every advance, determined to know how he had been betrayed. A servant of the Syrian king had heard a rumor and he told the king “. . . Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

All was calm when I went to sleep that night in the city of Dothan where Elisha and his servants stayed.

I rose early. Points of starlight blinked overhead in an attempt to needle into the darkness that still lay heavy on the city. I drew my robe close against the chill and pulled in a sharp breath, listening.

Creaking leather, the clank of metal against metal, the scent and sound of horses, and muffled male voices came from all around me as I stood, iced to the earth in fear. Stomach clenched in terror, I groped for the wall to steady myself.

In every direction, for as far as I could see, hundreds of horses, chariots, and an army surrounded the city.

A tall, familiar  presence filled the space beside me.

“My Master! What shall we do?”

His eyes caught mine, his gaze calm, intense.

“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Elisha’s hand touched my forearm, and I closed my eyes as he looked up to pray.

“LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”

I could not stand. I dropped to my knees and fell on my face before the LORD as the warmth of an unseen hand crossed my forehead. No longer afraid, I sensed my master was no longer beside me.

The LORD opened my eyes, and I saw.

Hovering above the amassed array of the threatening Syrian army, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, all around Elisha.

May the LORD be your refuge.

Sealed by the hand of

Lael,

Assigned to shadow and serve . . .

Just because we cannot physically see God’s hand does not mean He is not there for us. We may experience trouble or tragedy and we may turn away from Him, but God is constant and eternally with us.

God will never leave you
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5b).
Trust
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:3).
God is for us
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Pray
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

[Jesus said] “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26).

Have you ever been so afraid that you ended up flat on the ground?

I once was. I remember what frightened me, but to this day, I don’t know how I got on that floor. It happened so fast that it was as if the Lord himself picked me up and deposited me there in safety.☺

Lael is a biblical name. The roots are accurate, but his portrayal here is purely from my imagination. Calling him only “the young man,” the Bible does not give us the servant’s name. This mini-story is based on verses from the New King James Version of the Bible and to read it, you can follow this link 2 Kings 6:8-17

I hope you enjoyed the story and that it blessed you.

Love,

Sally

All Scripture New King James Version

Coats, Pillows, and a China Cabinet

I’m so happy to have Ann Cooper McCauley as my guest again. Reading through the posts on Ann’s excellent Morning Glory Blog, I came across this one that I especially love, and Ann graciously agreed to allow me to repost it here on Everyone Has a Story Blog. I guarantee that it will lift your faith to a new level!

So, pour yourself a cup of something warm. You’re in for a post full of miracles! Here’s Ann’s Coats, Pillows, and a China Cabinet~

The church we attended gave each of our children a warm coat, but not just a warm coat. Beautiful coats.

Coats they would wear for years to come.

They also gave the kids new bed pillows. You wouldn’t think such a gift would excite children, but they were needed, our children appreciative. Our oldest son was in Iraq, and this same body of believers sent a care package to him. Many families in the church sent gift cards for us to buy Christmas for the kids. What a loving and thoughtful group of people. We were blessed to know them.

God doesn’t always use a mailbox to send blessings…

But our problems were bigger than those who loved us. For the first time in more than twenty-five years of marriage, my husband was without employment. The calendar on the kitchen fridge flapped each time I passed, a reminder that the rent was due. We had needs no one could conceive, and we were helpless to do anything but pray.

Instead of meeting those needs, God seemed distant. His word to us always the same, Work for me. Work for me. So each morning, we used our dwindling cash for gasoline, drove to our church, and worked there as though we were employed. We had vision for a family and children’s ministry and spent days, cleaning, organizing, painting, and preparing.

 

Late one evening a truck pulled into the yard and began backing to our front porch. Two sweet people from the church hopped out and began unloading a dining room suite. We were overwhelmed. This couple, in the real-estate business, had sold a home in which the owners had left behind a table, chairs, and china cabinet to be given away.

Only God knew I’d always wanted a china cabinet. I had never told a single person. That evening after the kids fell asleep I took my china out of storage boxes and carefully placed each piece into the lighted cabinet. Finished, I turned the house lights off and stood back. Lovely. But my thoughts were not so lovely. Lacking the beauty of faith and dependence, tears welled in my eyes, and I whispered, “Lord, why would you give me a china cabinet and no house to live in?” I was as fragile as one of my china cups. The fear of moving to a homeless shelter loomed even as a rumble of laughter escaped my throat at the thought of the question.

After I crawled into bed, my husband told me we would have to try and sell the dining room suite. My shoulders sunk as I looked him in the eye. I choked up and tears prickled. “That was a personal gift from my Father. Only He knew what it meant. He’s trying to tell us something. We can’t sell it. We just can’t. This was my Christmas present.”

 

The next morning, we rose early to work at the church. As I climbed into the van and reached for my seat belt, my husband leveled his gaze on mine and said, “Aren’t you going to get our rent money from the mailbox?”

God doesn’t always use a mailbox to send blessings…

 I eyed him right back, and my ire rose. He was being sarcastic. His practical mind screamed to sell the dining room suite, and I stood in his way. I snatched the stack of letters from the mailbox and returned to the van. A Christmas card stood out among the bills. As I tore it open, my jaw went slack. There was a check for $2,000 dollars inside the card. This money came from people who called themselves secret agents. Believers, who hardly knew us at all, they lived in another state and were not privy to our circumstances.

Sometimes God uses a mailbox…

Everything was paid and on time. But our living conditions were not changed. Another month rolled by, and bills came due a second time. God kept saying, Work for me. Work for me. A second envelope came in the mail that month. This letter was from another family who lived in a totally different state. We had not heard from these people in years. And inside the letter was a check for $2,200 dollars. God gave us a raise. Another month passed and bills came due. This time God gave Randy a job that paid nineteen dollars an hour.

God didn’t help us because of our service to the church. God didn’t help us because we had adopted children, or because we homeschooled. God didn’t help because we were special, or because we held a rare measure of faith. The opposite was true.

No. Our Father wants to freely give. And as we admire qualities of hard work, loyalty, and growth in our own children, so does He. But He gives unconditionally because He’s Daddy. The work at the church was to keep us occupied in a good thing while He worked on our financial miracles. What was this truly about? Our level of trust was challenged.

You see, the provisions were always present and on their way before we could see or touch them.

It’s humbling to share about our needy times, but it’s exhilarating to share what God is willing and able to do for His kids.

What have you walked through that confirms He is real and holds your hand?

Ann and I would love it if you’d leave a comment!

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/ Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

Listen for His Whispers

“The lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field . . .” (Proverbs 27:26)

“You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips” (Psalm 21:2).

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Scripture from NKJV
A photo from Ann's Morning Glory Blog

A photo from Ann’s Morning Glory Blog

The Gift of Interruption

“There are sometimes things more important than homework,” my grandfather told my mother. And she left her studies behind as he took her hand and led her outside.

Together they entered the darkness of the night and walked into the midst of wonder. Hand-in-hand the two of them watched the shimmering beauty of the northern lights.

That’s the way my mother began the story of when she was a little girl. Of living on Cape Cod. Of how her father interrupted her homework one evening to show her God’s handiwork.

“Wake up, sweetheart.”

We hadn’t lived in southeastern Washington State very long. I must have been about seven years old when my father stood beside my bed and whispered those gentle words.

Pushing sleep away, I opened my eyes and smiled back at him in the dim light. He bent close, and I reached to touch his dark mustache. “Why did you wake me up, Daddy?”

“There’s something I want you to see.”

He tucked the blanket around me, swept me up into his arms, and carried me outside.

And beneath the cool, blue-black desert sky, he held me, silently pointing at a wavy curtain of green and blue light. I held my breath, mystified, filled with awe, as I watched the gracefully undulating, colorful, shimmering phenomenon that my father told me was the Aurora borealis. Even the name was magical, and I’ve never forgotten the wonder I felt that night.

Dad had interrupted my sleep because wanted me to see something special—something far more important than sleep.

Interrupting homework or sleep to behold one of God’s works is a beautiful and unforgettable gift for any child. Children have a depthless capacity for wonder. Helping to fill that capacity is both a joy and a great responsibility for those who care for them.

Just as I showed them to her, my daughter has pointed out natural wonders, from the majestic to the mundane, to her children. And so, appreciation for the wonders of God’s creation passes down the steps of time and another generation has learned the value of interruptions.

Jesus was often stopped in the midst of what he was doing to speak to the need of another. Parents interrupted his teachings, placing their little ones into His arms, wanting their children to experience the touch and attention of this great man of miracles, the Son of God. Jesus never turned them away. The children were blessed indeed.

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 19:13-14).

When have you been interrupted and your eyes opened to God’s handiwork?

Please share a comment ~

Love,

Sally

All scripture is from the New King James Version