Including God in my decision
An unlikely stranger gave words of wisdom
By J. Johnson, Perth, Australia
I had taken my dog to the seafront for his daily walk. It was a beautiful day, and the place was packed with people. As I sat on a seat in the sunshine, I was thinking how very fortunate I was when a middle-aged lady sat down right next to me. I must admit I was a bit resentful at her intrusion.
I could tell we were clearly from different worlds, and I didn’t think we would have much in common. Thankfully, I didn’t get stuck with that thought and welcomed her as best I could. She immediately began to tell me her life story.
She was a mine worker and, I soon discovered, a God-centered person who had overcome many trials in her life to bring her to employment on this side of Australia. She sent money back to her teenage daughter, who was studying to become a nurse. She said she drove those monster trucks, and as each statement left her lips my admiration for this woman grew and grew.
She described how listening out for messages from the Lord Jesus had eventually helped make sense of her life. She randomly quoted pieces of Scripture to illustrate her journey.
Soon the 20 minutes were up and our time of unity and sharing came to an end. She got up, kissed me and thanked me for listening. Then she asked if I would mind if she gave me a piece of Scripture that she felt the Lord wanted me to have. She said it was going over and over in her mind.
It was Galatians 6, Chapter 9: “Let us not become weary in doing good. For in due time, if we don’t give up, we will reap a harvest.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying!
Anyone who knows me is aware that for 20 years I have been a volunteer in my local community. But in the last few months I had become very tired. I felt burnt out and weary with everyone’s problems, and gave myself permission to retire. I told myself I had done enough.
However, I wasn’t including God in my decision. I hadn’t prayed about it — I just did it!
Initially, I enjoyed the rest. I told myself I deserved to read, relax, have coffee and redecorate my home. I told myself that I had closed the book on that other area of my life. But after several months, I felt very, very lonely. That loving and guiding voice, questioning whether it was time to go back to my real and valuable work, became louder. But I had refused to listen.
However, on that sunny day and through the fellowship with a total stranger, I heard the clear and intimate whisper of the Lord. That loving and familiar voice spoke to my conscience, nudging me to return to my ministry. It was the only voice to which I belonged.
My story is one of unity and community and how God talks to us with love, compassion and understanding. He sometimes directs our steps through the most unlikely of characters, and I think it is up to us to open our hearts to God’s choice, not our own, and live the Word of Life.
I’m now back on my crisis line, together with other things, and I feel much better.
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