I am constantly in awe of the beauty of creation. This time of day is one of my favorites. To view the waves, the sunset, the nature and to consider how it looks and acts the way it does can be confounding.
A friend regularly calls me and arranges a time to get together – sometimes with a group of other men and sometimes just the two of us. Today was one of those times we got together. It’s a time where we drink coffee, catch up with life and our families, encourage each other and generally laugh a lot!
During our conversation my friend asked me about our finances. He knows our life story and knows the season of life we are currently experiencing. He knows we have stepped out in faith in a manner that is beyond his imagination (and sometimes ours)! As I shared with him some details and some of the crazy things that have happened to keep us going, I was quick to acknowledge I don’t believe at all it is a coincidence. I firmly believe that God has provided all we have, as we need it, when we need it and only what we need. My friend gets it. He understands. While he has never questioned our faith, I know he has wondered if it was genuine and real. I’m convinced God uses examples like this, uses our story to impact other lives. I know it has impacted my friend.
I don’t really believe in coincidences. Just as the sun rises and sets each day, I know God is in complete control. I’ve got to believe Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
About every three weeks I try to get together with some friends for coffee – older guys who get what Cyndi and I are doing and actually are living lives as followers of Christ! Lately, these guys have expanded the group to include some more “older” guys who have some free time and could certainly use the company – actually an outreach of sorts! I look forward to spending time with these men, I always smile a lot and have a chance to laugh – and usually come away with some wisdom of some sort!
Today was a little different. After our group time and as my friends were leaving the coffee shop, one of the men obviously wanted to talk to me alone. So we did – for more than an hour. This man lost his wife almost a year ago – cancer. This man has been a good friend and has allowed Cyndi and I to disciple him a little while – before his wife died. Today we talked about his wife, his loneliness, Jesus, giving financially, sharing Jesus with others, Christ followers, and more about his wife. Before our conversation ended, he apologized to me for the way some “Christians” treated Cyndi and I while at his church – he cried a bit – we both did.
Today I had a voice message on a telephone line in Tallahassee at City Church where I volunteer a great amount of time. (Tallahassee is 200 miles from Inverness – where I live – but that is another story!) I returned the call and was suprised to talk to a man who had tracked me down via Facebook and Google to ask about a friend – he knew my friend and I once worked together and lived in the same town. The conversation was a good one – I did all I could to promote my friend! But the conversation was more than just about my friend. We talked about grace and God’s love for us. And how God’s love for me doesn’t increase or decrease based on my works. We talked about people and their need for Jesus. We talked our children and how a place called The Well impacted their lives while attending Florida State University.
God used me today to talk to others. He used me to be compassionate to a man who needed a friend. Someone to cry with him and tell him it was ok to miss his wife.
God used me today to talk with a man about more than a reference check. We talked about God’s love and what that really means to us.
I think I may have needed these conversations more than the people who initiated them.
Today I thanked God for conversations.