Do you ever feel prompted by God to do something and yet you hesitate before you act? I’ll get these thoughts that pop into my head that seem so crazy to myself that I can only imagine that they’ve come from a prompting of the Spirit. Usually, my immediate response is no way am I going to do that. It would be out of the ordinary and awkward. How would the other person feel?
But then I start thinking, well was that of God? And if it was shouldn’t I respond immediately in obedience no matter how it makes me feel and how I think the other person will feel? Obedience to God should be immediate and is a sign of our love for him (John 14:23). Maybe it’s a sign too of my transformation into the person I should be not the person I already am who’s first thought is one of selfishness.
I remember one time when I acted on one of these promptings. I was driving my son to preschool and we had had a big snow a couple of days before. Snow was piled up high everywhere, especially the sidewalks that were public domain and had not been attended to yet. There were a few families in my son’s class that lived in the apartment buildings down the street. They had immigrated here from India and the wives did not drive, so every school day they loaded their kids in strollers and walked the mile or so down a busy street to get their children there.
On this day with all the snow, I drove by and saw one mom struggling to get her, her daughter and their stroller down the road. Because the snow had not been completely cleared she was going to have to walk on the busy street in portions. As I drove on it was clear that her journey was going to be no easier up ahead. Immediately a thought popped into my head, you pick them up.
Well, then the excuses started. “I only have a small car and no extra car seat.” Easy, drop off your son and then go back for them. They’ll still be there struggling away. “Hmm, well, is that culturally ok, what will this woman from India, who barely knows English think of my gesture and will this all just be too awkward for her?” Don’t answer for someone else, just offer and let her decide.
My excuses ran out and I realized that I needed to just act. God didn’t care what the other person’s response was, he cared what my response was, and it needed to be one of obedience. After I dropped my son off I told myself that if I saw them still along the road, I would stop. It didn’t take long down the road to see them, this time on the opposite side of the road still trying slowly to make their way.
Well I pulled over, it was easier now since they had crossed the road, and I got out of my car. “Could I offer you a ride the rest of the way to school? Your daughter could sit in my son’s car seat who I already dropped off and we could put your stroller in the trunk?” Her immediate response, “Oh yes, thank you so much!”
After we loaded back into the car she said that if the sidewalk didn’t clear up soon she was going to just turn around and go home, she didn’t know what else to do. So much gratefulness and relief poured out from her. Later, on my return to the school for pick up, I was devising a plan on how to get her and her daughter home and my family as well. When I arrived she said how grateful she was and that she had already called a taxi to pick them up and take them home.
That day I couldn’t believe how much my actions made such a difference, not just for them, but for me as well. I had finally listened to some hair brain request in my head and didn’t talk myself out of it. I really felt overjoyed at first, excitement bursting out of me after I had dropped them off. And then I was humbled. How many times had I robbed myself of this joy by not acting immediately? What was God trying to do in me and through me that I was preventing and blocking?
I’m still met with these prompts to take action from time to time. I wish I could say that I’m quick to always act but I’m not. The excuses still flow out first and most of the time they are speaking louder than the voice that says go and do, don’t be afraid. I keep the story of the woman and her daughter that wouldn’t have gone to school that day if I hadn’t acted in my heart though and sometimes that memory is louder than the excuses. I remember the difference it made in their life that day, and who knows how many days after that, and I think about the difference I could make at this moment too if I only let God use me, instead of shrinking back. What joy and gratefulness could be felt by all?