22 February 2012

Opportunities in the Dark

It had been a long day.  All Mary wanted to do was pick up a few things from the store, go home, and put her feet up for a bit before collapsing in bed.  Standing in the aisle near her was a man, obviously tired, trying to make his selection.  A few feet away, she was frustrated, unable to locate the item she sought.  This was the second trip down this aisle. They used to keep them here.  
The man turns to her and says, "Do you know which one of these is best?"  She studies the shelf for moment.  As she is making her suggestion, he notices that she is a nurse.  
With a little hope, he asks, if indeed, she is a nurse, and again, what would she recommend.  He goes on to tell that his wife is at home, in pain, due to cancer that is pressing on the right side of her abdomen. She can't take anti-inflammatory medication and is desperate for relief.
Now, acutely aware that the Lord has set up this encounter, Mary has the perfect opportunity to pray for this woman's healing, and this husband's peace.  But she is caught.  Thoughts of her recent failures and lack of dependence on the Lord, even in these past few hours, causes anxiety to build in her.   And yet, she can hear Holy Spirit say,  "It isn't about you, it is about Me, in you, the hope..."

Thoughts come at random, "This is the moment I've been waiting for. To touch someones life so that they have an encounter with the Living God and His perfect Love."  "I could invite them to church." "Tell him about the great things God has been doing."  All along she knows full well, that an offer of prayer, a gentle touch, and the love of Christ would bring complete healing.  

She walks away.

There are some shoes in which we do not want to walk.  Praying for divine appointments and failing to do our part when they come, is one of those sets of shoes we don't care to try on.  It's easy to immediately pass judgement on one another.  It's easy to think, "If that was me, I would jump at the opportunity!"  Or to regretfully consider, "How very much the Lord must trust you with His power, that He would set up such a perfect opportunity."  But more so, "How very much He must love that woman and her husband, that He would cause your paths to cross, in the middle of the night, because He knew He could trust you to have His compassion and to love with His love."

No one sets out to fail.  No one seeks the Lord for a chance to be His vessel expecting to duck and run when the opportunity comes.  The good news is that when we fail, we have an advocate with the Father. The good news is that there is mercy and grace.  The good news is that when we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  We get uncomfortable calling such failure, sin.  But the Word says, "To him who knows to do right and he does it not, to him it is sin."  That's not to condemnation and shame.  It is to forgiveness and restoration, to right standing with God.  It is to love and to be loved.  

As you go through your day (and through your night), looking for opportunities to be a blessing, if you, like Mary, find you are feeling a little far away, know the target hasn't moved, the arrow is straight and your strength is in Him.  

Aim high, my friend, and you will not miss the mark.

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