Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)
TITLE: The Big Picture
By Catherine Maher
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My face lights up with a pleasing smile. It'll be nice meeting more people in my new church. Several leaders are organizing a bus trip downtown for a conference. I’m interested in going, but not by myself. I want it to be fun with some of my new friends.
Why don’t you ask your friend, Joe, that you met last month?
Shrugging both shoulders, I scan the room looking for who would make a suggestion like that, but no one’s talking to me. My heart speeds up. Excuse me, Lord, is that You? I don't ask men out, not even if I'm lonely.
I've always been able to recognize the quickening of the Lord’s voice. Could my discernment be off? This sounds crazy. Is this the Lord or just my own heart beating fast with anticipation? Could God be nudging me to step out? I didn’t want to be rejected or an miss opportunity to change my life. My eyes close. I calm my thoughts and listen.
Just be still and wait on the Lord. He doesn't deceive or misguide people. I need a way to determine, is this all just me? I'm not going to worry. Tuesday at Joanne's I'll ask if anyone’s planning to go. If Joe comes along, great. If not, I’ll know it's not God. If this is Him leading me, Joe’s plans will coincide. God knows how much I would like a close relationship again.
According to plan, at the end of the meeting I ask my burning question. All heads shake negative in unison–all but one. True to the heroic character of my own imagination, one rises to my rescue dressed in full armor. The room fades to black. His lips part and out pours a heavenly light that surrounds the two of us. His hand reaches toward me. I've been waiting a long time for you. I rub my eyes, accept his hand, and am instantly lifted to his white steed. We ride off together to discover… .
"Ahem, I’ll go with you. I don't like the idea of you going by yourself, but let’s not take the bus. If the meeting runs late or we get tired, we can leave."
Like a deep sea diver rising to the surface, my mouth gapes open for air. My cheeks catch fire. I clear my throat and clench my jaws, but my tightly pursed lips leak out my secret anyway.
"Oh, that sounds so nice, Joe."
My eyebrows crunch together. Oh no! What have I done? I am not in the habit of letting a man drive me around. How can this be God? I want to trust Him, but I need to be sure about a decision like this. I can't just get in a man's car… can I?
"I do have a favor to ask," Joe interrupted my silent deliberations. "I'm a truck driver, so would you drive? I’ll pay for gas."
I sigh. My shoulders relax and a pleasing smile returns to my cooled-off face. Encouragement washes over me as I realize God's hand in this evening.
On the day of the conference, I drive. Many enjoyable Sunday brunches follow. New hope pulsates through my veins. Words flow between us as God's plan becomes apparent. His perfect timing helps us trust the process. We're God's portrait. He adds the colors, blends the hues and smudges the lines so that we can display the joy of a new beginning. A few more brush strokes readies us for the big picture.
God places the lonely in families. Psalms 68:1 KJV
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