But Jesus told him, 'Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.'" Luke 9:62 (TLB)
I was a woman on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. Or, so I thought.
With an over-ambitious mindset and a determined heart, I clutched my lengthy to-do list as if it were a sacred antidote for life.
Having much to accomplish and only a few hours to spare, I whipped into a parking spot and made a mad dash towards the front doors of my local convenience store.
On the way in, I noticed a group of people staring at something on the ground. Avoiding the distraction, I shifted my direction and headed towards another set of doors on the opposite side of the store. Then the unexpected happened.
A nudge. A knowing. A whisper in my heart: "Go over to the crowd."
At first, I dismissed it as curiosity. A random thought that needed to be ignored. But then it dawned on me ... I wasn't curious at all. In fact, I was much more interested in getting in, getting out and going my own way.
I'm not involved, so it's not my problem.
Then I sensed the whisper again: "Leah, I want you to go over there."
With a smile on my face and joy in my heart, I made a beeline for the crowd. NOT. Instead, it went something like this: Heavy sigh. Slow turn. Unsettled feelings.
I recognized God's nudge, and I wanted to obey. Really, I did. But, another part of me just wanted to keep walking.
This distraction is going to throw off my schedule and keep me from accomplishing what I need to get done today. It's probably nothing.
Reluctantly making my way back across the parking lot, I approached the crowd and saw a man on the ground. A heavy concoction of sweat, alcohol fumes and stale smoke filled the air.
Glancing at his tattered clothes and swollen feet, I noticed the scratches on his arms and face.
His eyes were swollen shut, and he wasn't moving. The crowd stood silently staring at his body. I couldn't tell if he was breathing, but I could hear the faint sounds of an ambulance in the distance.
Help was on its way, so I could now be on my way. Then the whisper came again: "Kneel down and pray for him."
Seriously Lord ... kneel down? Here in the parking lot? Can't I just stand here and pray silently for him? All these people will think I'm a weirdo. Besides, help is coming.
"Kneel down and pray for him."
So I did. Kneeling down next to the man, I stretched out my hand and gently placed it on his shoulder. I began to pray out loud. No one else said a word.
At first it felt awkward. Uncomfortable. Crazy. But then I felt someone's hand rest gently on my shoulder. Within moments, a woman bent down next to me and placed her hand on the sick man's arm. Another hand extended. Another voice responded to the prayers.
In just a few seconds, this unlikely mix of strangers transformed into a powerful prayer group. Right in the middle of a busy convenience store parking lot. An unwanted distraction became a divine appointment.
No one objected. No one walked away. We continued to pray until the paramedics arrived, treated the man and left for the hospital. As the sirens faded into the background, I stood there astonished at what God had just done in our midst.
Had I ignored the whisper I would have missed out on the miracle. I could have overlooked the distraction, but I would have missed my divine appointment. My "important" schedule paled in comparison to what I had just experienced: God tying hearts together and weaving a beautiful blanket of prayer over one of His broken children.
In the midst of the ordinary, God breathed the extraordinary ... all within a circle of strangers willing to be distracted for a moment in time.
Did you wake up this morning with a long to-do list and an ambitious mindset? When distractions come your way, try pausing for a moment to see if God is unwrapping a divine appointment for you. It may be disguised as ordinary circumstances. But as you peel back the layers, whispering "Yes Lord, I'll obey," you will no doubt experience His presence and glory!
Lord, thank You for entrusting me with divine appointments, and let my answer to Your call always be yes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Jeremiah 7:23b, "Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you." (NIV)
Philippians 2:13, "... for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When was the last time God turned a distraction into a divine appointment for you?
Do you struggle with discerning God's voice? Pray and ask God to give you a greater awareness of His presence.
© 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105