During the seminar I would also be teaching missionaries how to write newsletters readers look forward to receiving, and presentations audiences remember. I’d prepared my talks but wanted a story that showed how God cares about the small details of our lives and despite much prayer, no story came to mind.
As I went to pay for my order, to my horror I realised that I had forgotten my purse. If I returned home for it I would have been late for the seminar. Embarrassed and bewildered, I hardly noticed the woman behind, handing me the money. My immediate reaction was to say I couldn’t possibly, but she insisted. I followed her out of the shop and thanked her profusely, offering to return the money, but she stopped me midsentence.
She told me she was a Christian and God had nudged her to pay for the order. Both of us ended up in tears as I told her what the rolls were for. God had made us both a small part of the very story I needed to share at the seminar, a story I shared later that day, through tears. I doubt any story could have had a greater impact.
If they went away remembering only one thing from that seminar, I think I know what it was. For people about to head out to a foreign culture, an unknown language and dependant on God for the necessities of life, it probably was exactly what they needed to take away.
It reminded me to stay alive and alert to the Spirit’s nudges. We are constantly told to seize the day, grab the moment, but I think that’s the wrong way around. That’s the language of the west, shaped by our emphasis on work ethic and doing. That’s about me and my agenda. I think we are meant to let the day grab us. What if we were open to what the day wants to teach us, what in us it wants to refine and how the Spirit wants to make us part of God’s greater plan? Suddenly my whole day has a very different perspective.
The kingdom of God is all around us in the nondescript bakeries of our everyday lives. We look for God in the big things but I’m convinced that God is most powerfully at work in small ways; that his work is taking place, quietly and most surprisingly through the lives and hearts of those open to his nudges.
That moment when you felt prompted to ring a friend only to discover that they were feeling low and discouraged and your call made all the difference. The day someone told me that God used something I had written to speak to her when she was struggling through a particularly bad day in her battle with Parkinson's disease.
It's in responding to the nudges that we come to better understand the heart of God.