I’ve been struggling with this post, Lord.
Son-day is a time for reflection about my recent encounters with You. One in particular stood out to me the moment it happened. Somehow, I knew instantly it would become the subject of today’s post…
… even though I haven’t yet fully grasped all the ways You want to change me through it.
I was out of town, in a restaurant with two friends. I love them both, Lord. And we all express love for You… at least, on some level. Only You know fully what is in each of our hearts.
Our waiter came. Two things were obvious. 1) He was friendly and gracious, a huge smile adorning his face. 2) He was very effeminate in his appearance and mannerisms.
Why did this not surprise me, Lord? When so many of the religious liberty challenges I have researched lately involve interactions — and, often, confrontations — between proponents of same-sex marriage and Christians?
What were You “up to,” Lord, in this particular encounter?
Were You putting an individual name and face on this controversy impacting so many nameless and faceless people? Were You hoping to provoke serious thought about the right response You desire from Your people, as we seek to be salt and light in a perishing world?
Or both of these… and so much more?
I wasn’t prepared for the reaction of my two friends — a man and a woman, married to each other. Their whispered mocking. Their subtle, dehumanizing innuendos. The man’s feigned fear that he might be the target of unwanted flirtation.
All directed at our waiter. Out of his hearing, of course. My heart cringed.
So I did the first thing that popped into my mind. I reached out to grasp their hands and bowed my head to pray. For the meal we were about to eat. For our waiter and for ourselves — that each of us would be captivated and transformed by Your Love… in the ways we each desperately need.
Because we all were (are) in desperate need… whether we knew (know) it or not.
There were no lightning bolts. No “come to Jesus” invitations or confrontations. I reasoned — or rationalized? — it was neither the time nor the place for a deeper conversation. The kind that might have shed Your Light on the whole issue.
One thing did happen: The innuendos stopped. We had a delicious dinner and a delightful dialogue… except for the nagging questions in the back of my mind.
Questions like: Was it really not the time or place to somehow engage my two friends and that waiter… with Spirit-anointed, Love-motivated, Truth-imparting words that would become (for each of us) a Close Encounter with You?
You engaged everyone You met, Lord, with a priceless combination of compassion and conviction that left them different. Isn’t that what You want to help us do, too?
“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
What was Your will for those three Divine appointments You gave me that night, Lord? How did I meet — and miss — the opportunity to impact their lives for You? What do You want of me next time?
For there are many “next times” yet to come… Amen?