Dear diary, today did not go to plan. I did not accomplish the tasks that I thought were needed. Simple things took too long. I finished the day further behind than I began. Thank you, God. You answered my prayer. Your plan was much better than mine. Please ruin tomorrow as well.
It’s the inconveniences in life – the moments we flee from – the moments we begrudge and definitely – the moments that we don’t have time for – that are the most precious moments in life – often God-ordained and God-appointed as opportunities for service.
I know this because I prayed a dangerous prayer today – a prayer God is ready and willing to answer. I prayed that God would bring across my path those whom he would like me to serve. It is common for churches to make their owns plans and ask God to bless it. It is considered normal to make our own plans for the day and ask God to be part of it – but what if we started each day submitting to God’s plan for us – what if we started each day asking God to guide and direct our path as he sees fit? If you do – it might ruin your day. He ruined my day today and I am so glad that he did.
The first opportunity for service was inconvenient to say the least. I was stopped before I could even start. I was called to help my child navigate feelings of abandonment during his kindy drop-off. What ought to take 15 minutes took 2 hours! Naturally, this kind of nonsense can’t happen every day – and it doesn’t – but it happened today, and what my little man needed was the love, care, and compassion of his dad.
The second opportunity for service involved a meeting with a stranger that I have never met before who needed to hear, again, about the love of Jesus and his need for him. I knew this meeting was going to take place today, but it was God who made it come about and it was God who led me to understand what this person needed to hear. We prayed twice. I can’t say with any certainty that the outcome was all roses – but I know that I was where God wanted me to be and that I shared the words this person needed to hear.
The third opportunity for service came in the form a phone call that I knew was urgent. It came from a friend in anguish over personal circumstances in their life seeking my advice and wisdom. They needed words of encouragement and they needed the peace that only God can bring. Words flowed freely. Tears were shed. Deep-seated peace landed safely at the airport of their heart.
Before the day began, I knew that I was up against it – I knew there were deadlines to meet, and I was already behind. Well, imagine my feelings when these three opportunities came knocking at my door and I didn’t even touch my emails or achieve any of my targets. At first, there was disgruntlement and frustration. Then I realised that God was answering my prayer and taking charge of my agenda. When the day was finished, I was filled with energy instead of tiredness and a sense that I had done what God asked me to do in the day that he had made.
What if you prayed this dangerous prayer? Perhaps you already do. If not, what would happen if you did? What if our churches sincerely prayed for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done? Dangerous things might happen. The plans we have would be ruined and that would be a good thing.
Nathan serves as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Fellowship (ELF) in Toowoomba as well as LCAQD Second Assistant Bishop.