Thanksgiving has now come and gone but this holiday, this year, has left a lasting impression on me in a deeper way than usual. For one thing, we had a beautiful snowfall the day before and it made the landscape look like something out of the imagination of Walt Disney. Everything was coated in clean white snow and it gave the barren trees an unearthly glow that is hard to describe. Beyond all that, we had the great joy of hosting a bunch of our spiritual kids in our home. When they come over to eat with us it is always a treat. They bring energy, ideas and conversation that is enlightening and interesting in so many different ways.
This year our natural kids were committed to other family gatherings, some moved and some have been taken to distant places by their jobs. We missed them more than words can say, but such is life. Everything changes and we all must adjust. As a result we had people from our church join us. They came from Texas, Nigeria, the Congo and Scotia, NY to share our holiday turkey. It was just delightful, and it knit our hearts together with them in many new and wonderful ways. There was food, noise and child-like enthusiasm that filled the air. Most of all there was the pleasure that comes from just being together with those we have invested our lives into.
We dearly love these people and their families. Even though they have come from around the nation and around the world, we feel a connection to them. It comes from doing life together with those who respect us and actually want to hear what we have to say. What I mean is, they listen out of love and high regard for who we are rather than tolerant obligation, and that is one of life’s greatest blessings. These are the people who get the real treasure my wife and I have to offer, and they will take that legacy with them when we are long gone from this world.
When our meal was finished, and the dishes were washed and put away, it was time for me to take two of our guests home. The trip out was uneventful and filled with gratitude and wonderful conversation. However, on the trip back home something happened that made me realize just how vital it is to stay open to the voice of God. We often miss windows of opportunity simply because we allow the distractions of the moment to direct our lives. However, such mindless activity should never be the thing that controls where we go, what we do or what we say. We need to live life on purpose and be open to any adventure God might want to send us on. This is called being “present to the moment”, and it is a powerful way to live.
As I drove home on the very familiar, and clearly marked road I always take, it began to snow. The road became a slippery, greasy mess and I put my vehicle into “auto 4 wheel drive”. At that same moment, I passed a cross road I had never traveled on before and I felt a nudge from God’s Spirit to take it. It was a very distinct urging that made no sense, and I argued with His small, still voice for just a moment. Finally I pulled over, spun my Trailblazer around and drove down this unknown dark, snowy road, knowing I would cross the river at a different location and I would be much later getting back home to my wife.
I felt a strange peace come over me as I drove along even though I took a few wrong turns. The truth is, I actually felt the pleasure of God. Somehow this was His perfect design for me and it felt good. I knew I was on a God adventure this Thanksgiving night, just because I heard His voice and yielded my life to it. I had no idea what His reason was for sending me home this way, but that really didn’t matter. I had obeyed, and that is what pleases God when all is said and done.
As I came down the last incline that heads into our town, something caught my eye. A mini-van had just lost control and it had rolled up on it’s side as it slid backwards down into a deep ditch on the left side of the road. As I pulled over I narrowly avoided going off the road myself. I then crawled my way across the slippery road, went into the ditch and discover a mother and daughter, safely strapped in their seats but trapped inside the upturned vehicle. After calming them down I got the help of two other men, and together we rescued the frightened women.
One at a time they climbed up and tumbled out of the window of the upturned van and into my arms. I then helped them through the snow and up to the roadside where a warm vehicle was waiting. With both of them safely out I called “On Star” to report the accident and then directed traffic till the police and rescue squad showed up. With the arrival of emergency personnel I quietly got in my Trailblazer and headed for home. As I drove off I had a huge smile on my face, but more than that, I had the pleasure of being used by God. Why? Because I heard His voice at a most inconvenient moment, and decided that I would obey.
I wonder how often we miss these moments of divine adventure just because we are too distracted, or too busy living life? I also wonder how our lives might be so very different if we would just stay open to hearing His voice every moment of every day. Let me encourage you to look beyond the routine reality of the life you now have. Begin to see each moment as a divine possibility where you could be God’s agent to help another in their moment of need. Imagine that…. you could be God’s answer! All you need to do is slow down enough to hear His voice, and then obey. If you will, who knows what grand adventures may be waiting for you on the road just ahead! This, in the final analysis, is what really makes life so exciting. If you are board with the life you have, begin to listen for the voice of God. Once you hear Him and do what He says, you will fulfill the real purpose for why He placed you here, and that makes all the difference!