Last year I learned a painful lesson about listening to but not acting on those urgings from God about doing something for someone else. I learned that putting off or doing less than He was asking me to was a surefire way to miss out on a blessing, cause someone else to miss out on a blessing, and definitely a way to pile on regret.
A patient was checking out at the doctor’s office and I felt very strongly that God wanted me to pray with her. She was very ill, in a long battle with cancer, and was visibly weak and miserable.
I didn’t pray with her. I did tell her that I would pray for her and that my heart went out to her.
The next week I found out that she died.
My heart hurt with regret and I told God I would listen in the future when He gave me such clear instructions to do something, even if it seemed odd or if I felt a little afraid of what others might think.
Today, I was sitting at McDonald’s eating a sandwich when I saw an older lady come in and sit down. I had seen her walking the crosswalk outside as I drove in the parking lot and noticed she walked slowly and seemed a little weary.
She sat down in the booth next to mine, facing me, and when I looked up and saw her I am pretty sure I heard God tell me to offer to pray with her. I instantly thought, “That’s just me thinking that because it would be nice.” But the longer I sat there, the more I couldn’t get that idea out of my head and the stronger my heart began beating. It’s almost as if God said to me, “you promised me last time that you would do as I asked. So here’s your chance.”
I was thinking that I had to get back to work, but decided to stop and talk with her first. I threw my trash away and walked to her booth and said “Excuse me, I know you don’t know me, but I felt like I should come and say a prayer for you. Would that be okay?”
She looked at me with kind of a half-smile and pulled away a little bit, saying nothing but “okay…okay…” I said, “That’s okay, what is your name? I’ll just pray for you today as I go on my way.” Still she just looked incredibly uncomfortable and said only “okay…okay…”
I patted her shoulder and said, “It’s okay, God bless you today” and left.
I was so embarrassed and felt so silly. I also had the thought that it was probably a pretty odd scene to the two ladies sitting right behind this awkward exchange.
But then I thought, who cares? I promised God I would do what He said and I did what I thought He told me to do. It did not turn out at all like I thought it might, but maybe the purpose of that prompting today was to test my obedience. I don’t know that lady or her situation, but I did pray for her as I drove away.
It took me a while to get over my feeling of foolishness and I am still wondering if maybe it WAS just my idea to pray with her and not God telling me to do so.
I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I do know that it felt good to at least follow through on something God told me to do and not make an excuse this time. Hopefully that is a step in the right direction!
Have you ever experienced something like this? Done something you felt you should do and have the outcome be anything but what you expected?