Missed miracles?

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I walked early today, through the dark and chilly hours of a February morning. Checking my watch, I realized I was ahead of time. Took a deep breath.

I saw him, the driver of a white van pulled in front of the coffee shop, the smoke from a cigarette exhaled into the damp air as he waited. I felt that familiar nudge in my gut: pray for him.

I prayed under my breath for this stranger as I drew close. But I knew that God wanted more than an under-my-breath prayer. I began to run phrases over in my mind: “I know this may sound strange, but I was wondering if you wanted prayer…”   “I know that this might be weird but could I pray for you this morning?” “Hi, I’m Kristen… I know that this might seem a bit out of the ordinary, but I think God wants me to pray for you…”

Why do I premise this idea with words like “strange” and “weird”?

I premise it with that because I am afraid. Afraid of … afraid of… what, in the end? Afraid of a stranger’s rejection? Afraid of someone thinking I am peculiar and odd?

The {fear of man} surfaces again, and it squelches the Spirit.

As I pass by, I smile and say good morning. He returns the greeting, this hard working man with a limp. For a full 30 seconds I debate: do I turn around? do I obey that nudge? do I offer? will he think I’m off my rocker?

And then, it’s too late, and I continue walking.

But all along my way, I’m thinking of what might have been. God, in a kairos moment, asked me to obey that small nudge and offer prayer to a stranger.

Who knows what God had in mind this morning? Who knows what blessing God wanted to bestow upon this man?

I could have been witness to a miracle…

That God-nudge, why do I push it down? Why can I not just swallow my pride, my insecurity, my inner fear and do it? And what is the antidote to this fear?

 There is no fear in LOVE. But perfect love drives out fear…       1 Jn.4:18

Love. That is the answer. {Isn’t it always?}  That my love for God, and my compassion for this man might overrule the fear the keeps me from reaching out to him. That my love for God should be translated into action, into obedience to the Spirit-nudges. For the Spirit is always working, and He just asks us to join Him in his work.

  “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.”                       Jn.15:10-12

Obey the nudge.  Obey the nudge.  Next time, just obey the nudge. Swallow fear, swallow insecurity and obey.

 ” If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you…. if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”        1Pet.4:14,16

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…     1Pet.3:13-15

Lord, I pray for courage in those moments when your Spirit nudges me to act, to speak, to be your hands and feet in this world.

___________________________________________________________________________________________              *Addendum*

In conversing with my inlaws, there were several discussions that came up. My father-in-law asked how I know that the nudge means to pray (out loud) as opposed to simply blessing him with a smile. I think that I have a sense in my spirit when God wants me to step out and do something “more” (I tried to allude to that in my phrase about “more than an under-my-breath prayer”). It’s difficult to explain, but there is a welling-up inside my stomach, as opposed to just a thought in my mind, that can also totally be a nudge from the Spirit.

My mother-in-law asked what I would have said. I referred to the phrases in my head and she asked why I wouldn’t begin with a nice opener like, “Wow, looks like you begin work early!” or something of that sort. Perhaps that will be helpful next time (thanks, Mum!). (Then perhaps someone wouldn’t think I was as strange as I might come across.)

Another discussion point was about women talking to men in the early hours of the morning on a darkened street. This is definitely something I do NOT do on a regular basis. The fact that I felt moved to ask this guy to pray for him made me think that it was from God, and not from me. I also want to say that in the prayer ministry I am involved in, we always operate in a team of two, and it is usually women praying with women, or men praying with men. We also have mixed teams for situations involving couples.

I also don’t want to suggest that God is always nudging me to pray out loud for people. I sometimes sense distress, depression or angst about a person, and I pray for them as I go by, in my head. However, I think that glimpses of God are missing from our society as a whole. In this post-modern culture, having someone offer to pray for you might be a catalyst for more thought about God. Perhaps someone is even questioning the existence of God, and by someone saying they felt nudged to pray for them, it might lead the person to think, Wow, maybe there is a God! Or, perhaps someone has lost faith, and by having an encounter with someone who offers to pray with them, they realize that God is calling to them, asking them to come back – that He cares for them.

One of my points is that often I lack courage in situations where I could stand up and speak about my faith, or about God. I call it “fear of man” which is a phrase found in the Bible. I fear rejection, I fear ridicule, I fear eye rolls. The thing is, I don’t want to be controlled by my fears, or my lack of courage. I want to be able to speak up when my opinion is asked. I need to be able to talk to people, or pray with them if God asks me to. This is obedience. This is one way I show God that I love him, and one way that I do His work in the world.

Would love to know if you (reader!) have any further comments to add to the discussion here about God-nudges. : )

Blessings!

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