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Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Unexpected Nudging from God

I don't know why I still doubt those moments that my gut just seems to tell me to 'speak to that person', to 'give them that book' or 'that amount of money', to 'pray with that lady' or to 'send them that verse'.
It's a feeling like no other, and I KNOW that it is God. I've experienced these feelings before many times, and great things have come from them when I've acted and followed God's 'voice'... but nope - I still doubt and question it. So I'm writing down the most recent occasion, so that perhaps next time I'll not be such an idiot!

It is when it costs ME that I am reluctant to do anything about it, and I am happy to question the instincts I have, or rationalise it as just a thought I had and oh...look... the opportunity has passed.
I've had many of these moments over the past 7 years that I've been following Christ, and every time I ignore it, I leave deflated at my sheer rubbishness... and every time I act upon it... God does GREAT things.
When it seems that that hunch might leave me vulnerable to the 'you are a lunatic' stare or the 'quit talking about your imaginary man in the sky' remark, or I am expected to give something that I hold dearly, in return for what appears to be quite probably nothing... my human nature twitches and often makes terrible excuses for its disobedience.

But that 'quite probably nothing' in return, is very far from that in reality. It is 'quite probably something huge' that we get in return. That feeling of having been used by God is so incredible and so worth the occasional times in which it maybe doesn't quite go as planned.
On my way back to Southend-on-sea after a Christmas spent at home in the land of green, to be honest I was more than upset to be leaving my friends, family and home comforts yet again. So needless to say I was feeling mightily deflated.
So it was a rather inconvenient time I thought, for God to put that oh so butterfly type nudging feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was very happy wallowing in self pity thank you very much.
Regardless, I felt God tell me to put down the book I was reading 'Tim Keller: The Reason for God', and speak to the guy sat next to me who had said "Hi" briefly at the beginning of the flight, and had later pointed out the clouds and how high up we were. Being very British, I resisted God's voice momentarily, and then when the butterfly feeling didn't go away I thought... fine, I'll stop reading God, but he has to speak to me first.
Oh my word I am so ridiculous!
But that is the truth of it... and true to form, the guy did turn round to chat to me. He had noticed the book I was reading, and he was struggling with his own faith, and questions of God which didn't seem to reconcile with his experience of life... he wanted and needed to chat. He said he felt like God had placed us beside each other on that plane in order to give him the motivation he needed to go to church and to try to wrestle with his questions and hopefully find his way back to God. I pray for him every time I think of him, and I'd love if you could pray for him right now (doesn't matter that you don't know him - God knows).
The phrase that broke my heart was when he said at the end - "Aw man, I have so many more questions.. I wish we'd have chatted to each other earlier!"... AH!! Me and my terrible stubborn and self pitying ways.
But God is good and He did orchestrate that meeting, and I hope and believe He is doing good things in that young guys life as a result.

The point is, I should have been looking out for that opportunity anyway. As soon as I felt God speak I should have gone with it regardless of the possible rejection. I need to remember back to other times God has used me and given me those feelings and just run with it. But I don't because I'm so often afraid of the cost.
I hope that next time I won't miss out on any of these opportunities. I am ready for that next unexpected encounter God has laid out for me!

And what did I get in return?? Even if we remove the very obvious fact that it helped the guy who I was able to speak with... Was it still worth me reading less of my book and chatting??
Of course!
I received myself an immeasurable amount of encouragement. I was able to experience God using me. I was able to focus on someone else and not on myself (which is always good). I was encouraged that God was going to use me in Southend and that He had a plan for every moment - even the plane ride to and from.
The humbling part is, that even if I miss the opportunity, God will not then leave the person I was supposed to minister to, to flounder. He would have spoken to that guy another way or through another more willing person. He was simply offering for me to have the privilege to be a part of His plans. Why would I want to miss that?
This is great news for those times that we do fail to follow through on what God has set up for us to partner with him in, and the times we have let the cost swallow up the benefits. It means that those people we were supposed to bless, will not have lost out because of our failings. That in my view, wouldn't be God. But this is also not then an excuse to not bother because 'sure someone else will do it'. Why on earth would you NOT want to be a part of God's ministry here on earth? It's what our temporary time here on earth is all about. God, the creator, offers us partnership in the Kingdom here on earth. Crazy!

God is incredible. I for one am going to be on the look out for those special anointed times that God sets up to encourage and help both the 'someone else', and ourselves by default.
This is an appropriate time for a... #ThanksJesus

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