Monday, June 27, 2011

Encountering (and colliding) with God

You just never know when God is going to bump into you – and you, him.

A lady learned recently what a beautiful thing it is to collide head-on with the Lord. Over the past several years, she had grown slack in her relationship with him and had not been in fellowship with a church family for a while. It grieved her, but she couldn’t seem to move herself to correct the situation. Shortly after relocating to a different state, she lost her husband. Neighbors who had already connected with her and her husband during his short illness were right there for her with food, comfort, and moral support. She hardly knew them, but they cherished her and her husband as if they all were old friends.

These neighbors invited her - now a new widow - to return with them to their church services (she and her husband had gone with them a time or two previously). She complied, thoroughly enjoying everything. She was drawn in to their weekly ladies Bible class, and also began helping with various other activities. She found a wonderful new friend, a wise older lady, also a member at the church. These activities and friends were life-savers as she confronted the many, many tasks widows sometimes must resolve by themselves, and which can take months, not weeks, to deal with.

Through one avenue at a time, the Lord began speaking to her in her spirit. In studying Jeremiah in ladies class, a burden settled on her: her need to repent of lukewarmness toward Jesus. She made up her mind she would share her burden and her repentance with these sweet women. However, in the service the next Sunday morning, everything seemed to unite to further prick her conscience: the song about heaven, and Amazing Grace – My Chains are Gone; then the sermon on forgiveness particularly moved her. The neighbor shared his handkerchief with her as they both wept.

She hadn’t intended to go forward at the invitation song, but after scribbling a note, she walked down the aisle and handed it to the minister. He read her confession aloud to the congregation. She told them she had not been faithful to the Lord before moving to their community, and felt she had set a bad example for her family, friends and relatives. The note concluded with “I now want to live each day for the Lord. I ask for prayers to set a good example for everyone around me. I now feel so free.”

The preacher asked God to use her repentance to touch many lives. Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, the father of four girls (who worked with the youth and taught the high school class) made his way to her and whispered that he was struggling with a lot of problems. In fact, he had decided to walk away and stop coming to church. But because of her open repentance and confession, he, in his words, "won’t do that now" and thanked her. Her response to God's call had enabled another to collide with the Almighty!

I’m sure she floated out of the building that morning!!

Her concluding thought in her email was this: “I am sorry I wasted years being a bad example and not being faithful like I should. I had many excuses too numerous to list why I just couldn't do... what I now am able to do with God's help.”

Praise the Lord for these collisions!! May we all have more of them.

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