Late one night I finally crawled into bed after an ordinary day full of life's many activities. As I settled in, I began to prepare my thoughts for prayer. After a moment, I decided to set aside my usual approach to prayer; instead, I simply asked God to show me my trespasses of the day.
Immediately, I thought of how frustrated I had become with my husband. I began to pray about it, willing to look at the circumstances to see where my actions had contributed to the situation. Acknowledging where I had gone wrong and realizing how I could have better responded. I turned to God to forgive me for failing once again in this area of my life.
Grateful for a forgiving God, I felt a gentle nudging, sensing God saying that I needed to make things right with my husband. I took pause from my prayer and turned to my husband, sleeping next to me.
I tapped him on the shoulder, "Are you awake?"
Waking from a sound sleep my husband's voice vibrated a response resembling, "Uh...huhh."
"I just wanted you to know that earlier today when we argued about ... that I ..."
"Oh...no problem," he said as he rolled over and drifted back to sleep.
Apparently this was bothering me more than it was him. But having done what I could for now, I handed the problem over to God and returned to my prayer. Again I continued to think of other events in my day where I had fallen short. I began struggling trying to remember what else I had done wrong. Surely there were several other areas God would want to show me. Why was I having such a hard time remembering them? Instead, God's Word reminded me, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
At that moment I realized that I had been searching my own mind instead of listening for God, as I had initially set out to do. So I quieted my thoughts and focused on entering into the presence of God.
Eventually my thoughts became so quiet that I had almost forgotten what I was waiting to hear. After a while God began to show me some things about my day, but it was not what I was expecting:
~ Early that morning, I had called a friend who was going through a difficult time to ask how she was doing and to offer her support and words of encouragement.
~ While at work, I was able to waive the fees for a class to someone experiencing financial difficulties.
~ Later that afternoon, an elderly woman dependent on a handicap scooter struggled to reach for a jar on an upper shelf at the grocery store. I grabbed it for her and placed it her hands.
~ During my son's tennis practice, we noticed a friendly stray dog scavenging for food, his bony frame evidence of his infrequent meals. My son and I opened up a package of dog food that I keep in my car for such an occasion.
These were just a few of the things that God showed me. Like scenes from a movie, one image after another readily came to mind. Little things that I had done during my day to help others.
I was truly astonished by the experience. That night, I had taken a different approach to my prayers. I had asked God to show me where I had gone wrong in my day, but instead God had showed me what a good day it had been after all.
What a wonderful reminder that his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. Really brings home the lesson of listening to God, instead of allowing our own thoughts to crowd in and block out the blessing that God is trying to send our way!