Ever had a feeling deep down inside like you needed to do something, perhaps you wake up in the morning and think of someone from years gone by and think; I need to give them a call. How about that willingness and a desire to help others in need or even volunteer for a church project? However, once you take action you soon realize there may have been underlying reasons to do these things? For example, the person you called is going through very difficult times, yet you were there to provide comfort and support. The volunteer work you did, showed someone it was OK to step up and help or even that small act of kindness you extended, made a world of difference in the life of another.
In this entry, we are going to look at the stories of two individuals separated by different backgrounds and life situations, but finally chose to open their hearts and minds in hopes to understand what God wanted from them.
Let’s begin with the story of Alex and his wife who were in their mid to late 50s. After raising a family and many grandchildren later, each were looking forward to those golden years, only to face the harsh realization they had no money for retirement. They always used to mention how things came up out of the blue or how they spent what little savings they had in certain situations in order to simply get by. Yet despite their financial situation, both worked to pay the bills, were happy with one another, and took care of themselves throughout the years. They were usually active doing things outside and moving around and were very healthy individuals.
Now they didn’t belong to any particular church and rarely attended a service, always said they didn’t have time for that kind of thing. If you spoke to them, you’d be led to believe they were in fact non-practicing Christians. On occasion, I have met many people who go through life believing as long as they are decent folk, all will be well with the world and right with the Lord. Alex and his wife were very much that type.
It wasn’t until later on in years Alex started to have health issues. He was finally faced with the devastating news of a terminal illness. After feeling helpless, heartbroken, and many sleepless nights, he started to hear a faint voice saying; come to me, I am here. The voice eventually got louder and he began to pay close attention. He spoke with his wife and decided to attend a Sunday service at the little parish down the road. They welcomed him and his wife with open arms, and he eventually felt a lasting peace within his heart.
His treatments were long and brutal, but as tough as he appeared to everyone on the outside, he thought often of his wife, children, grandchildren and just how fragile he really was. At one point a nurse even asked him before a treatment, and in all seriousness; why do you want to live? His simple reply; my family.
After about a year and a half his treatments were becoming less invasive, further apart, and eventually received word that the illness they thought was sure to take his life, was slowing down and becoming much less of a threat. The small congregation helped them in many ways throughout his ordeal from doing things around the house, providing home cooked meals, to helping out with some of their financial needs.
You see, the people at the little parish down the road helped, they could have chosen not to help, and he could have simply chosen to give up, but he didn’t. God showed this man and his wife the grace and salvation offered freely to each of us. He finally realized it had always been there, all they had to do, was realize their many blessings in life and listen.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~John, 14:6
But you must fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart, for you have seen the great things the LORD has done among you. ~1 Samuel, 12:24
Our next story starts with a guy named Eric during his high school years. He never really had a lot of friends and wasn’t considered a part of the “cool kid” group. He was that guy who stood out not only because he did his own thing, but because for the most part, he tried to make the right choices regardless of who or what the situation was.
His home life was pretty good even though his parents didn’t have a lot of money to afford the finer things in life. They went to church every once in a while, just not enough to be considered a member by the congregation. Unbeknownst to him at the time, in his later years he would look back and think about those few times he attended a service and how things simply fell into place throughout the years.
After school ended, his only option was to find a job because college just wasn’t in the cards. He ended up moving out, getting married, having children and all the things that come along with it. Bills added up, things happened, money was tight, but there was the love of his family so he was content with everything in his life, or at least he thought……
At some point he heard a call, something telling him to come, I will show you the way. It wasn’t loud at first, but as the months and years went by, it became louder. His family found a parish and got involved. They felt called to volunteer for many things and people could see God working in them and through them. From time to time they would hit some bumps along the way and sometimes it was a struggle for Eric to slow down and listen. It was only by going to church and speaking with others, he learned how to take a few steps back in order to refocus on what God wanted his family to do. He had to learn to stop, take deep breaths, open his heart, and listen to God.
Over the years Eric’s life hasn’t always been the greatest and at times he took for granted all the blessings God bestowed upon him and his family. However he eventually found God, listened, and realized what was important to him. He could have easily walked away and left it all behind, but deep down inside, he knew no matter what obstacle was thrown his way, he could overcome by the grace of God.
Someone once asked him; “you don’t even know me, why would you help me? His reply; no worries friend, it is what each of us are supposed to do for one another regardless of who you are.”
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. ~Hebrews, 6:10
Jesus says; 12) Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. 13) And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14) If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. ~John 14:12-14;
There are many different ways in which God calls us. Sometimes these feelings are easy to overlook, but God truly wants us to take the time and listen. While the things God calls each of us to do may seem like a small solution to a big problem, you will never know just how much that small act of kindness could make such a big difference in the lives of others.
All of us have to start somewhere, some people even say the Lord waits on no one, however let’s read the verse below….
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. ~2 Peter 3:9
Clearly it works both ways for each individual because the Lord may have been knocking on the door to your heart for the last 30 years, did you hear it? If you heard it, did you open the door and embrace him or did you keep it shut until perhaps another time? One day it might be too late…..
36) “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37) For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38) In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. 39)They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. 40) Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. 41) Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. 42) Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 43) Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. 44) So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. ~Matthew 24:36-44
Time stops for no one, have you heard God asking you to trust in him? Perhaps even calling you do something special with your life… are you ready to listen?