The family and I went for a walk the other evening. It was a beautiful, clear night accompanied by the random smells of blooming flowers itching for spring to arrive.
It had been a while since we’d strolled through our neighborhood streets…one of those simple things that we’ve always enjoyed doing as a family.
As we rounded the corner, conversation rambling, the dog sniffing and me just being content, we noticed the silhouette of someone sitting on the curb of their walkway up ahead. As we got closer, we discovered that it was our 88-year-old friend Susie, sitting in the dark, bucket of yard debris next to her. We approached timidly, telling her who we were. It was pretty dark, so we didn’t want to startle her. She looked up with a half-confused / half-relieved look on her face. She had been out doing yard work for a while and ended up getting tired or dizzy, so she sat down at some point. Apparently, she couldn’t get up from where she was sitting…no phone to call anybody and nobody else around. It was so sad to see.
We’ve been friends with Susie for years. She’s kind of like a grandma to us, so we offered to help her up and walk her to her front door. We discovered that her door was locked, but luckily, she left her garage open, so we made our way in that direction. My son, Ben dumped her yard debris for her and all was well. After some chit-chat, we all had a big hugfest, said our “I love you’s” and Susie was safely in her house…thank the good Lord!
I can’t help but think about how long Susie would have been sitting outside if we hadn’t walked by! What a helpless feeling that would have been!
Now, please don’t think this story is meant to praise my family for stopping to help…..I would hope that any decent person would have done the same thing. This story is about God and His perfect timing. It’s about how He intervenes in the most practical ways amidst the most practical things. It’s about the beauty of how God brings people together. It’s about God providing my family an opportunity to love someone with actions, not just words. It’s about the privilege we had as parents to teach our sons how to help someone in need, even if it meant sending our plans on a little detour.
God’s pretty tricky and clever regarding setting up divine opportunities to love. My guess is that each of us encounter set ups like this all the time, we just don’t always have eyes to notice them. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own stuff and I get it, there’s a lot of stuff to get wrapped up in!
What I’ve noticed is that when I actually pray for opportunities to love, I often find them…but only if I’m actively looking, trying to be aware of what He’s doing. Other times, I’m fuzzy and clouded, wrapped up in my own mess. These are the times where that magic invitation just floats on by, untouched and ignored.
The cool part is that for every invitation from God that we reject, He sends us more and more and more opportunities to love. He’s patient, waiting for us to accept. Sometimes His timing leads to an obvious situation such as what we experienced with Susie. Other times, we have to step out in courage, trusting that He’s got this.
The truth is that He doesn’t need our help loving people…He’s pretty good at it! I tell you what though, He really wants us to be a part of what He’s doing because His love is absolutely inspiring! He’s gracious enough to let us be a part of His story! Would you be willing to be a part of it? I mean that…would YOU be willing to ask God for opportunities to love? You’re special and I know you have a lot to offer this world.
Do it. I dare you.
His timing is perfect. Always.