Mary wanted my counsel. Her name is not Mary, really, and she is not a member of my church. She had a problem and she wanted to know how a Christian should respond to the problem. She is a Christian, a heartfelt sort. With much intent, she sought my counsel.
Her intent, preparation, was what struck me first. Well that and her soft spoken nature that compelled the listener to pay attention to her words. Words she shared carefully. In advance of our meeting, she had spent time in prayer asking God to give her the right words to say in our meeting so as not to waste my time. Not only did she explain this to me, she started our meeting with prayer.
She was seeking my counsel. She did not ask me to pray for her. She prayed for us.
She had written out her worry. In a matter of minutes she had shared with clarity her worry and aptly named the question. I will not delve into the details of her situation or her problem. Suffice to say that her question was: “How was she as a Christian suppose to respond to this problem?” She shared this question and the problem with as much passion as clarity.
I tried to be as clear and concise as she. I told her that she was already doing exactly what a Christian would do in her situation. I encouraged her prayer life and her witness of God’s love to those in the situation. Affirming her previous actions to be safe, I reminded her to remain safe.
As if to make certain she had heard me correctly, she repeated my advice back to me. Then she added, in a way that was both question and wonderment, that God wanted her to be in that situation for a purpose. Her addition to my “counsel” sounded like a forgone conclusion she shared with me having known it before arriving in my office.
True to her word, she was in my office less than half and hour. She was as prepared for her departure as she had been for her arrival in my office. She changed me.
I say that she changed me because she did. My encounter with her impacted me. And the funny thing is that I knew it would before it did.
I knew what was about to happen was what should happen. I did not necessarily want it to happen because I had other things I wanted to happen. The other things were more “productive” according to my list of daily goals. Those things were definitely more easy to engage. Those things were in my control, supposedly. Yet I knew I had to do this thing. And in my soul I knew that it was exactly the right thing at exactly the right time and I also knew that I was going to benefit more than the Mary who was seeking my help.
I’m not certain how I knew. When my Administrative Assistant announced who was waiting to see me and that my counsel was requested, I knew it in my soul as certainly as I knew my face in a mirror. This was not the typical story of life interrupted with the “thing” you needed rather than the thing you “wanted.”
I knew the typical story was about to happen before it happened. The benefit of knowing such was being filled with a peace to do well what was needed. As carefully Mary shared her problem and question, I listened. As clearly she shared, I responded. When she began to pray for us, it felt most natural to me. When I might have felt bound to control, I let loose. When I might have felt necessary to use many words to justify or add weight to the counsel she sought, I spoke sparingly. She left with what she seemed to need.
I take no credit for this. It was completely God’s Spirit on the move. I am ashamed to conjecture what my decision may have been without God’s Spirit rushing in to my soul as it did. I might have asked Mary to make an appointment. I might have presented body language that repelled rather than received.
I take no credit for this. I share this because God showed up in my life this week. God used Mary to impact my life.
Mary came back to my office the next day. She wanted me to know that she had followed my counsel. She wanted me to know that her question was answered and the problem resolving. She wanted me to know the God was good.
I already knew. I knew because she showed up the day before. I knew because God told me.
I hope similar for you, child of God.