As so many of us have been ordered to stay home as of yesterday, I thought this precious testimony would remind us that God loves us personally and sometimes sends others into our lives to not only bless us, but to be a blessing to others. When I received this today in my email from a precious friend, it made me cry. It convicted me, first of all, of the times when I felt that nudging from the Holy Spirit to go and be obedient to get out of my comfort zone and pray for someone or at least go and see how I could encourage them. We never know what others are going through. They might be struggling physically, spiritually or, as we will certainly be seeing in these coming days, financially. But God…..is still here and still loves us and still wants to bless us. So many times we think that blessings should always be financially, or health related or have things that make our lives joyful and pleasant. But blessings can come in many forms. As this story will tell us, 3 lives were blessed this day because of one women’s obedience. The blessing was for one lady, the chance to be used of God to bless another. The recipient was blessed to know that God cared enough and loved her enough to send someone to just encourage her. The 3rd lady, the “witness” of this event, was blessed by seeing how God orchestrated this to show her friend that God was still in the business of loving and caring for His own. I am using just the initial of the lady telling the story, as she does not want the focus to be on her. We will just call her S. This is her testimony…
“My Dear Praying Princesses,
I miss you a lot and hope that you are safe and protected under the shadow of His wings, in spite of all that is happening around us. I am so sorry that I missed last Thursday’s prayer time with you, but your prayers still resound in my heart.
I wanted to share with you something that happened to me last Wednesday, March 11th at my local Aldi store, 2 days before the President declared the National Emergency. I was shopping for my weekly groceries, just the essentials and there were not many customers in the store. I was weighed down with my own financial worries, school closing and trying to find healthy food for the kids. I was standing behind a middle-aged woman (must be in her 60’s) at the checkout line and she was having a hard time taking items out of the cart. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask her if I could help put her items on the counter. She said, “yes” and showed me her left hand which was bent. She told me she had a problem with her hands that she could not move her fingers. She could not drive and her friend had brought her to the store.
I remembered Sister Cora’s prayers and Sister Kathy’s story about comforting strangers in our daily life and the Holy Spirit whispered to me in clear words to pray for her. My automatic reaction was…”no Lord, not today…I have so many things to worry about.”
I spent the next 5 minutes ignoring the voice of God within me and hoping that I would be done with my checkout soon but the Lord delayed the cashier for another 5 minutes. We both checked out, the lady was still inside the store bagging her groceries and as I was putting my groceries in my car, I started arguing with God. That is never a good thing because that opened the door for the devil to join in the conversation. I told Jesus that I will pray for her silently in my car, but the Lord said a firm, “NO”, I want her to know that you are praying for her. I want you to lay your hands on her and pray in my Name.” The devil reminded me of the virus, the social distancing, the 6 feet apart rule, worst case what if she is an unbeliever. And a whole list of reasons why this was a bad idea. The Lord replied that we were both protected from the virus by the power of His blood. That shut up the devil. While I had been arguing with the Lord about this, I felt the Lord speak to me that she was His daughter too and that we both will be protected by His blood.
SO I waited in my car, waiting for her and her friend to come out so I could pray over her in the parking lot where I wouldn’t be too embarrassed if this did not go well. She came out of the store, helped by her friend and amazingly, they had parked their car near mine…I only had to walk 5 steps. (I love how God directed even this small detail).
Finally, I pick up my courage and walk up to them and blurt out something like this. “excuse me Mam, I am a Christian and I belong to this prayer group of Sisters and the Lord has asked me to pray for your hands. Is that ok?” The lady just burst into tears, grabbed both my hands and cried, “YES, YES, Thank you Jesus. I have been a Christian missionary all my life. I have 12 kids and I am suffering because of my hands.” I don’t remember what exactly I prayed, but just that morning, I had listened to a sermon about how Jesus healed the man with the withered hand in the Synagogue on the Sabbath day. I let the Holy Spirit take over my mouth. I prayed for her hands, her family, the promises of Psalm 91 over her for protection against the virus and I blessed her in the powerful and Almighty name of Jesus. Her name was Claudia and she was so happy and cried tears of joy.
Claudias’ friend who also joined in my prayers was also in tears and told me “you picked the most deserving and the best person to pray for, she really needed this today. Thank you”.
I went back to my car, fighting back my own tears and ask the Lord for forgiveness for not obeying Him promptly. I was so busy swimming in my own pool of self-pity and selfishness, that I would have missed the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else. Almost missed the chance to be His voice and His hands, in such a time as this.”
What a great testimony and encouragement for us to be salt and light to a very hurting world right now.
As we have this fresh in our minds may we stop and ponder what all the Lord is trying to tell us!
May we all be reminded to surrender our days to Him and even now, with the restrictions in place for so many of us to not leave our homes, we need to remember that we serve a God whose ways are not restricted by anything. He can and does move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. He is the Great I am.
In listening to a sermon yesterday by Jim Cymbala from Brooklyn Tabernacle in NY city, we heard the Pastor preach on Ezekiel 29 and how the Israelites were turning to Egypt for security in the hard and uncertain times. As a nation, are we doing the same? In God’s Word, Egypt is a symbol for worldliness, are we turning to everything that should be helping this virus stop? Car manufacturers making surgical masks, distilleries making hand sanitizer? Businesses closing for social distancing? What if we looked to the One thing that could actually stop this? The God who could stop this in the blink of an eye. What if, as one people, we acknowledged our sin and bowed the knee before Him asking Him to forgive us for throwing Him out of our government, our families, our schools and invite Him into our lives again? Are we better than the Israelites who kept rebelling against Him and going after other gods? Why do we think that God will not look upon our sin, as He did with His own people?
Yes, we do need to thank God for a government that is trying it’s best to help our Nation and leaders who are trying to stay on top of this awful virus. We are grateful for companies who are going the extra mile in developing the needed supplies.
Yet, God loves us and desires our love and obedience to Him.
May Ezekiel 36 26 be our prayer in this time of needing to come back to our first love…
“And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new obedient heart. and I will put my spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatsoever I command.”
Verse 37 -38″This is what the Sovereign Lord says, I am ready to hear your prayers for these blessings and I am ready to grant them their requests. I will multiply them like the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more and everyone will know that I am the Lord.”
I know this is a very long post today, but the Lord laid upon my heart to share these words, that they may bless you and encourage you to be a blessing to anyone He puts on your heart, even today.