Several years ago I was at the River Market, buying (ahem) chocolate - what else? And as the people behind the counter waited on me, I looked at their countenances, listened to their erudite banter, and absorbed the pithy, yet worldly messages on their tee-shirts and then thought about my own Christian tee-shirt. Honestly, I was a little embarrassed. The young people at the bakery just had that "I'm a sophisticated intellectual" look about them while I... well, I was wearing an oversize tee-shirt (to camoflauge just how oversize I am) that said something like, "Jesus loves you!!" Whew... glad I wasn't wearing my bright orange tee-shirt that said, "LIve so that the preacher won't have to lie at your funeral!"
Really, as I stood there waiting for my chocolate chip scones to be sacked up, I felt... old. Dumpy. Banal. Out of place.
Then a little girl who clearly belonged to the River Market - as it turned out, her mom worked there in one of the kiosks - bounced up to the counter singing, "Jesus loves you..." in her high-pitched little voice. The young people behind the counter obviously knew and liked her. They teased her good-naturedly - how do you know He loves me? Undaunted, she proceeded to give them the whole Gospel - not the PC version. They bantered back and forth a bit in what seemed to be a well-rehearsed routine that they all enjoyed. She got a cookie for her trouble as well as an admonition to be careful. She smiled and told them she would be and then the little evangelist left, her curly long hair bouncing behind her.
Out of that brief snippet of life came a much needed change of persepective. I realized that instead of focusing on my own insecurities I should be focused on those around me - wonderful human beings for whom Christ Jesus died. In addition to that, I was reminded that I should be like Paul (no mean intellectual himself!) who was unashamed of the simple, unsophisticated Gospel message that all Christ followers are called to share, regardless of age, size, or sophistication... Or even of whether we say it or, as the little evangelist did, treble it in the open market!
So I decided to go to the River Market once a week (it's a tough life but someone has to do it!) and prayerfully do my shopping, asking God to give me opportunities to witness for Him if that was His will. If no opportunities arose, then would He at least guide my prayers so that I could effectively interceed for the strangers bustling around me..
And then I was ready. David went with me the first time and as we drove towards the market, I prayed outloud for guidance and wisdom, divine appointments if you will, and then qualified my prayers by telling David we might just end up silently interceeding and not see any sign of answers - in other words, we might just pray, shop, and come home with no evidence that God heard us. But still, I assured my child, God would hear us and someday we would see the results, if not here then in Heaven.
A hedge-your-bets type of instruction in faith from mother to son... ;)
Right after we parked and entered the market, I saw a neighbor standing a few feet away from us. Miss Sue was someone we delighted to know but I could see her any time - she just lived a few houses down from me. Besides that, she was a devout Christian and I was on a mission to save the lost, right? Plus I was supposed to meet another friend in about an hour and a half so time was at a premium.
There is something else you need to know about Miss Sue - she is blind. So there she was, cane in hand, standing with another lady, and it came to me that I could silently walk right past them and Miss Sue would never know. Seriously. I pondered on that and then decided to act on it. Since the other lady was a stranger, no one would ever know, no harm would be done. And I could talk to Miss Sue later.
As I started to move past them, something inside reminded me that this was, um, actually a pretty tacky thing to do. Sigh... So I stopped and greeted her; she smiled and introduced her friend to me. And then her friend said, "Do you have a car?" I said that I did and the next words out of her mouth were basically: "Sue is staying with me for the weekend; I have an apartment about six blocks from here. The weather has been so unseasonably mild these past few days that Sue and I decided to walk to the market this morning. It was so beautiful and neither of us realized how hot it would be this afternoon. Sue can't physically tolerate extreme heat and so we can't walk back to the apartment. And we don't know of any busses running that way today. Would it be possible for you to take us to my apartment?"
This wasn't what I wanted to hear. I had just paid to park and taking someone to their apartment was not on my agenda. However, what else could I do? I told her that I was willing to take them home but that I had just arrived and really wasn't ready to leave yet. They assured me that was fine, that they were in no hurry, that they would just sit down and drink a coke, and that I should take my time.
And then she said, "We just prayed together a few minutes ago and asked God to send someone who could give us a ride home. And then He sent you. We're so grateful! Isn't He good?"
Um...Gee. I hadn't actually been thinking about Him at that moment in time.
But, well.....yes, as a matter of fact, I had to agree. God is good!
Occasionally I set out to save the world. But it hasn't happened yet.
The truth is: life is so daily.
And daily He answers prayer.
Daily He shows up in the small things.
And when He does, it's no small thing....