Treasured moments within our marriage have 3 things in common: a delightful surprise, feeling cherished, and love demonstrated. Like when I didn’t realize he’d heard his very pregnant wife whining to a friend on the phone about craving fish and chips. My dear deathly-allergic-to-seafood husband told me to wait on the porch for a surprise, then transported a carryout with one hand on top of the car. He’d planned the surprise, demonstrated his love knowing I wouldn’t even be able to kiss him in thanks ‘cause it could potentially be a kiss of death! What a dangerous way to make me feel cherished.
God often shows such love in all three of those ways – with delightful surprises, love demonstrated and, through a recent happening, made me feel cherished all over again. My Valentine’s Day gift from God began about 2 weeks ago. I’m a planner, and was working on February’s calendar, including a visit to my Mom in a nursing home in Michigan, which I’d scheduled for yesterday. But God had other plans.
I got a call from a friend who lives across the country the last week of January to say she was led to pray for me. We shared work and personal prayer requests, and I noticed on her blog 5 days later that she’d continued spending her day in prayer for several people. I knew I was included and felt loved and cherished that God would lead someone to pray for me 5 days running! I did not connect at that time that despite her prayers (or because of them?) I was fighting a funky mood, frustrated and resisting a consistent and repeated message go next Wednesday… go next Wednesday (to Michigan to see my mom). I didn’t want to go on Wednesday because I had appointments Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but by Tuesday afternoon, I could not take it any more. I called my dear friend Marge who adventures with me, and told her how I was feeling that God was after me to go early. She said she was free the next day and we’d might as well go and see what God was up to this time.
I ran to a nearby store to pick up a Valentine’s gift for Mom, got gas and came home to pack a bag. Greeting cards I’d been sorting that morning were spread on the table, and as I scooped them up to finish another time, I felt a plastic case. The clear case had yellow booklets inside that told about how to know if you are a Christian. Put them in your purse. I’d heard that ‘voice’ before. Knowing I was always happier after obeying, I tossed the case in my purse, rushed about filling a bag with a few essentials in case we got snowed in, and headed for a pillow and a few hours sleep.
Shortly after 5 a.m. Marge turned on the car light to read her morning devotional. It was timely as usual, promising guidance and encouraging patience. We laughingly recalled how many times those devotionals had been like signs or warnings of what was coming on our trip. We had an uneventful visit with Mom and a very nice time with a relative we met for lunch. No sooner had we returned to the nursing home for the second part of my usual visit, I felt compelled to leave for home. Mom was asleep and though Marge was wondering at my sudden change of direction, we left.
On the road again we wondered why we’d been led to come on Wednesday, still feeling like the mystery was unresolved.
Part way home I automatically turned off the road to visit a young lady I’ll call Susan, who worked in a little small town store. I’d met her a few years ago and we struck up a friendship. I usually visited on Monday on the way to visit Mom. I’d forgotten till I drove up that I hadn’t seen her for a few months because their store had reduced hours – and closed on Mondays. Sure enough she was there and particularly surprised to see me, because she said, the entire week previously she could not get me out of her mind. She was praying I wasn’t sick or anything that she couldn’t stop thinking of me. She’d hoped I would come when she was there so she could ask me some questions that were burning on her heart and there I was! Her excitement was contagious. Who doesn’t love to be wanted!
So, I said to her, (still clueless!), what kind of questions did you want to ask? Well, for starters, she queried, “How can I know if I am a Christian?”
Marge and I looked at each other with widened eyes and whispered, Wednesday! The usually busy store was empty of customers and we were as amazed as Susan that we could respond to every question either because of recently studying the topic, personally experienced a similar situation, or Marge or I had the answering verse in our memory or the right material in our purses. I can’t tell you how many times we said, it just so happens… and how wide our smiles grew as Susan eagerly scribbled her answers and references on a piece of paper.
We were about to leave when Susan laughingly said the only thing I didn’t offer was a book to help her understand all these new things. She shook her head in amazement when I told her I’d just reviewed a wonderful book Simple Faith by Eddie Snipes. I’d placed on my “to be delivered” shelf just two days prior with the prayer that I’d be shown who it was for. Now I hugged the recipient – a newly confirmed sister in the Lord .
Beloved? Oh yes, I know I am beloved. The original word Agapetos, ag-ap-ay-tos´- means beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love – very much loved – and that meaning is described as “wider, than physical love – embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will”. It’s a choice that God made – He chose to love us so very much, to view us through the covering of his Son – worthy of love, to be his dear, and dare I say it, his favorite!
This is, believe it or not, a very brief listing of all the “unexplainable coincidences” that took place during this encounter. Several times Susan paused in wonder and whispered thanks to me, then said no, paused and looked up to heaven and said, “Thank YOU.” It was obvious to all of us that there was no way we could have planned or prepared all the details without the hand of God.
Thanks to all who pray for me and had a part in God getting me to be where I needed to be to deliver what Susan called “a miracle”, and what else would it be when God leads his children to deliver the greatest message of LOVE!
2Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
Say it with me – As a child of God – one who is IN CHRIST
I am His Beloved!