It was a horrible night. The rain was lashing so hard against the window I thought it would break the glass. The wind was howling down the sideway and I could hear the trees creaking and moaning under the strain as they were bent over in the powerful gusts.
My Mum came in to say goodnight. As she tucked me in and gave me a kiss she murmured “I am so glad we are safe and warm in our house and not sleeping out under a hedge tonight. Even as I write this now over 30 years later it still sends a shiver down my spine as I consider the weight of what God dropped into my heart in that moment. For unbeknownst to me or my Mum at the time, that throw away comment planted a seed that fell on fertile soil I didn’t even know existed. In the years to come I would give myself to reaching out to the poor and disadvantaged. When I have moments of doubt or confusion as to what I am to do next I take myself back to that night when I knew the still small voice of God spoke and deposited a passion in me which has remained unquenchable ever since. I wasn’t even a Christian at the time and my Mum did not openly practice any sort of faith. God can encounter us at any time, sometimes through the least likely of people or situations and it will change us forever.
As part of my preparation Easter this year I decided to read through Luke. I have been struck in the first few chapters by how much the story relies on individuals living out their calling and trusting that God was going to do what He said he would do. Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, John the Baptist and of course Jesus. All knew of the promise God had given His people hundreds of years earlier and all acted on it (some quicker than others!) when He breathed life into those words.
God will use you and the passions He has put in you. The only prerequisite is that you are willing to allow Him. How can we best do that?
1. Part of that ‘allowing’ means we need to surrender our agenda and timescales. It may take 10 minutes, 10 years or a hundred years.
2. Be asking Him what is He saying to you and then ask yourself what are you going to do about it. Remember every time we say yes to do something we are effectively saying no to something else. Remaining attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is key for us in putting our God given talents to good use.
3. Take others on the journey with you. Have a friend praying for you, involve your life group or missional community.
4. Be prepared for some surprises; “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9