(November 16, 2019) Maureen McQuillan shares encouragingly…
‘Inconvenienced’… now there’s a word that even sounds like trouble! Basically it indicates problems or difficulties caused by someone or something – and often we can be left wondering ‘What’s going on here?’ Or ‘Why me?’
We Christians are certainly not immune! We have our disappointments too – but many times we need to see a bigger picture, recognise God’s ways and timings.
Let me share such an incident…
When ministering interstate one time we borrowed our host’s car and took a short Saturday afternoon break. And, after some relaxation on a local beach, we visited a nearby shopping precinct.
Car problem inconvenience
All enjoyable but on returning to the car we found it wouldn’t start! Now we had been warned that the key only turned a certain way but Robert tried every way for almost an hour.
Nothing happened – except that he got sore fingers and was almost frustrated. And the happiness of that afternoon was quickly vanishing.
Then Robert (I’ll be cheeky and add finally) got a bright idea! Phoning a local pastor he knew, he shared the problem.
‘No worries’ responded the pastor, ‘I have a helpful mechanic in our church and I’ll ask him to drop by.’ Jonny did so, very promptly, and soon had the car going. And as we stood by the vehicle, we had some precious fellowship with this new brother and encouraged one another.
Suddenly, out of the blue, a lady came up and enquired about a certain address. Needless to say, as strangers we hadn’t a clue where it was but our new mechanic friend said he lived in that area and all she had to do was to follow him as he was heading home that way.
‘What good luck’ she responded, ever so pleased and thankful.
Recognising an opportunity to share about God’s love for people, I quietly but meaningfully began, ‘There’s no such thing as luck…’
Deep down I was thinking that little does she know how long we’d been here, seemingly wasting time just so she could get blessed with instant directions and help! Now I wasn’t thinking negatively but was seeing the bigger picture for our inconvenience.
Ever find that happening to you?
You are the one inconvenienced in order that someone else is convenienced!
You have to go through something – situation, valley, trial – so that you’re then in a position to help, to encourage and bless someone (even a stranger) because you’re now in a certain spot and have gained from a particular experience.
Ann Voskamp, author of The Broken Way, is quoted as saying, ‘You love as well as you’re willing to be inconvenienced.’
Now that’s a great truth – but to quote a higher authority, I remind us that Jesus said, commanded, ‘Love others as well as you love yourself’ (Matthew 22:39Mge).
Our ‘being on the spot’ above was nothing really, but it led to that lady finding help from the right person.
Uncomfortable Bible inconveniences
I think of biblical characters who were inconvenienced in worse circumstances. Situations that would lead to countless others being blessed both in their lifetime and down through the ages…
- Paul going through a shipwreck, or being in gaol
- Joseph falsely imprisoned
- Abraham’s testing over his son, Isaac
- Daniel in the lions’ den
- Those three young friends in the fiery furnace
- Jesus thirsting by a well, asking for a drink that he never received…
- … and, forsaken by his friends, ultimately suffering and dying at Calvary.
And all because God needed them – had chosen to demonstrate his love, caring and encouragement through them and subsequently to the blessing of many others.
Such are his ways… and he needs us too. Let’s overlook inconveniences and see the bigger picture, God’s bigger picture.
Then there’s also God’s timings
I recall the long months it took to sell our home back in our Adelaide days before I could join Robert who had moved in faith to Melbourne into the next phase of our ministry.
Get the bigger picture here – I’m alone in one state believing for our home to sell quickly and Robert’s in another… seemingly wasting weekends searching without me for our ‘right’ new home.
It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t comfortable but in the end God’s timing was perfect. Our SA home sold – at the price we believed God had told us to ask (more than the agent said we’d get!) – and I was finally able to join my husband. Then, at the right moment and through unusual circumstances, we met a particular Melbourne builder and this led to building through him.
Getting to the point regarding ‘this inconvenience’, it was later when ministering at a Melbourne church I met a neighbour of that builder and learned just what a strong Christian influence we had been on the man (a ‘slipped Christian’) causing him to rethink a lot of his decisions and where he stood with God.
God’s ways and timings
Sometimes we wonder what it’s all about… the things we go through in life.
Let’s remember that because we’re his, God delights to use us to touch others. God has purposes to work through us so that others can be blessed, helped, directed, encouraged, influenced, saved – whatever.
And many times God has only us on the spot to use… so if you feel uncomfortable be consoled that you’re not in a lion’s den, a gaol or fiery furnace!
Let’s always endeavour to see the bigger picture and what God is doing in all circumstances. Activating his favour, his blessing, on ‘neighbours’ will rebound to bless us!________________________________________________________________________________