Last time I blogged about how life-changing a seemingly random ten-minute conversation can be. It’s important that we be ready for these unexpected and sometimes inconvenient divine appointments. I also indicated that I recently missed a divine appointment that I believe God had intended for me. Here’s what happened.
On June 15, 2011, Will and I went to a concert at Wolf Trap. Wolf Trap is the best place on the face of the earth to see a concert. It is a small venue just outside the Beltway on a beautiful hillside setting surrounded by trees. You can bring whatever you like in your cooler, throw out a blanket, stare at the sky as the stars pop out one by one, and listen to live music. It’s pretty much the ideal date night, and with two boys heavily into sports, a third who needs more activities and stimulation than just spectating, and the general busyness of life, you can imagine that Will and I had looked forward to this outing.
So we arrived when the gates opened with maybe a hundred other Wolf Trap fanatics, laid out our blanket, flopped open our cooler, sprayed ourselves with bug repellent and settled down for a lovely night of music and each other. But then a woman — who must have been sitting at least 150 feet away — very deliberately made her way over to us.
“Hi, I saw you spraying down. Could I possibly borrow your bug spray? My husband will get eaten up and I didn’t bring any.”
“Of course,” I said, handing her the Off.
As she trekked back to her blanket, Will and I looked at each other.
“That was kind of weird,” I said.
“Yeah,” he agreed, “Do you think we’re supposed to share Christ with her?”
I sort of laughed, a little uncomfortable and a lot reluctant. The truth is I didn’t want to have any conversation with anyone but Will.
A minute or so later she returned, handed me the spray and said thank you.
But then twenty or so strides away, she turned over her shoulder and called out, “You saved us.”
It made me feel sick. In fact, I still feel sick about it. I’m sure a rather large percentage of the population would think that I’m overreacting, that I’m really making a mountain out of a molehill, but I just know that we were supposed to talk with that woman. Do you ever have times when you feel a nudge from God that is absolutely undeniable? Well, let me recommend acting on that nudge! Because even though I have no idea what I was supposed to talk to her about specifically or even how I was to engage her, I’m so sorry that I didn’t even try, that I was unwilling.
I don’t know what would’ve happened. I’m not saying this woman would now be a close friend, that she’d be coming to church with me this morning, or that we would’ve invited her and her husband to join us near the bug spray, but I believe God nudges and that we need to obey, even when it feels uncomfortable, weird, or inconvenient.
In Isaiah 55, we learn that God’s Word will not return empty. In fact, God says it, “will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Just think if I had been willing to talk to that woman for just a minute and share a verse with her, God’s Word would not have returned empty. It would’ve accomplished God’s desire. And I would’ve gone out in joy and would’ve been led forth in peace. Trees would’ve clapped. But I was unwilling, and I have no joy or peace about it. And the trees and the hills were silent. What a lesson.
May I listen intently for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and may I obey those nudges for His glory and my peace.